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ANGELS FYI

Jered Weaver gives a strong effort

Angels right-hander strikes out a career-high 11 batters and beats Minnesota.

August 03, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

MINNEAPOLIS — Almost lost amid a flurry of Angels hits and runs Sunday was a solid effort from Jered Weaver, who gave up four runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings, with a career-high 11 strikeouts.

Weaver (11-3) had a 7.35 earned-run average in his previous 10 starts and admitted fatigue might have been a factor.

"I don't know what dead arm is, but maybe I had a case of it," Weaver said. "Today, my arm slot just felt a lot more consistent and I got a little more extension on my pitches. The slider was tighter."

His fastball also looked more crisp. His only two glaring mistakes resulted in solo home runs by Orlando Cabrera in the fourth inning and Justin Morneau in the seventh.

"Weav had some of the best stuff we've seen over the last few starts," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He had a sharp breaking ball, and 11 strikeouts is indicative of him having good life on the fastball and changing the speeds well."

Weaver got plenty of support. In addition to Kendry Morales' two three-run home runs, Sean Rodriguez hit a two-run home run in the second inning and a sacrifice fly in the fourth, and Juan Rivera had two sacrifice flies.

"It makes it a lot easier when guys are swinging the bats the way they are," Weaver said. "The offense is unbelievable. Everybody is locked in, one through nine."

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Not-so-sweet dome

Barring a return visit in October, the Angels played their last game in the Metrodome on Sunday; the Twins are moving to Target Field, a new open-air stadium, next season, which should make for some interesting April games.

When the Angels opened the 2008 season here, it was snowing heavily outside.

"Someone asked me if the players are going to miss the dome," said Angels batting instructor Mickey Hatcher, who played six years (1981-86) in Minnesota. "When they have to de-ice the players like they do the planes at O'Hare, then they'll miss it."

That's not to say that there aren't elements to deal with inside the dome. There's the dingy, grayish white Teflon roof, which is tough enough to pick up fly balls in.

The holes in the roof, which resemble baseballs, add another degree of difficulty, as well as the potential to defy Newton's Law of Gravity: What goes up doesn't always come down.

"We were playing Oakland in the early 1980s, and Dave Kingman hit a popup," Hatcher said. "I was playing first base, I watched it go up, and I was ready to call it. The thing never came down. It went into a hole in the roof. They gave him a double."

Scioscia tried to be diplomatic in his comments about the dome.

"There are a lot of things about this place that . . . let's just say we're looking forward to seeing a new ballpark," he said. "This is not an easy place to play."

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Taking the fifth

Though the Angels don't need a fifth starter until Saturday, they will recall Sean O'Sullivan, who threw a no-hitter in his last triple-A start, to pitch Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox. Scioscia will use today's day off to give his starters extra rest.

"Hopefully it will help guys freshen up a bit," Scioscia said. "This time of year, you can always use a little more time to recover."

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Typical Scioscia

After the Angels scored 13 runs and had 15 hits Sunday, the manager was asked to name his highlight of the day.

"Erick Aybar going from first to third on Bobby Abreu's single to left field in the first inning," Scioscia said. "That was incredible."

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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