Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver delivers a pitch against the Oakland… (Mike Blake / Reuters )
It's not even May, and the Angels might be running out of superlatives to describe Jered Weaver, who on Monday night was brilliant, dominant, superb, and still on pace to go about 34-0 this season.
OK, it's a stretch to think the right-hander will go undefeated, but the way April has gone, who knows what's possible?
Weaver threw his third career shutout, giving up seven hits, striking out 10 and walking one, to lead the Angels to a 5-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
Angels-A's box score
In helping the Angels end a losing streak at four games, Weaver threw his sixth career complete game, his second in a row and improved to 6-0 with an 0.99 earned-run average in six starts. Last season, Weaver didn't get his sixth win until June 13.
"I'm glad I don't have to face him," Angels right fielder Torii Hunter said. "He's in a zone right now — he's a different animal, even better than he was last year.
"He's starting to get up there with [former Minnesota Twins teammate and two-time Cy Young Award winner] Johan Santana for me. When guys from the other team say, '… I don't want to face Jered Weaver,' that's when you know he's nasty."
Angels-A's: How the runs were scored
Weaver, who leads the major leagues in wins, ERA and strikeouts (49), allowed one runner to reach third base Monday night.
He tired in the ninth, giving up one-out singles to Ryan Sweeney and Hideki Matsui, but with an Angel Stadium crowd chanting his name, he got Kurt Suzuki and Mark Ellis to pop out to end the game. He threw 114 pitches, 78 for strikes.
"That felt really good," said Weaver, the first major league pitcher with six wins through 23 games since Arizona's Randy Johnsons in 2002. "Hearing those chants really pumped me up and helped me through it."
Weaver was 13-12 with a 3.01 ERA and a major league-leading 233 strikeouts last season but didn't get much run or defensive support.
"He's on a roll, but he has the potential to do what he's doing," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think this is anything that is so outrageous you can't believe it's happening."
Weaver, however, sees a few differences between 2010 and 2011.
"I think my location is better," Weaver said. "Mechanically, everything feels good, and when you get four or five runs by the middle of the game, that takes some pressure off your shoulders."
The Angels came off a four-game sweep at the hands of Boston in which they managed five runs — total — and the task didn't figure to get easier against an A's team with a league-low 2.46 ERA and a starter (Gio Gonzalez) with a 2-1 record and 1.80 ERA.
But the Angels got off to a quick start.
A single by Vernon Wells, who had one hit in his previous 15 at-bats, an Alberto Callaspo double and Howie Kendrick's two-run single in the second ended the Angels' scoreless streak at 20 innings and gave them a 2-0 lead.
Peter Bourjos singled to open the third and scored on a double by Bobby Abreu, who had three hits in his previous 34 at-bats.
Singles by Kendrick and Aybar and center fielder Coco Crisp's fielding error led to a run in the fourth, and Mark Trumbo's bunt single, which ended an 0-for-20 skid, advanced Aybar to third, from where he scored on Jeff Mathis' double-play grounder.