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Vernon Wells finishes what Jered Weaver starts

After four weak outs, the veteran left fielder drives in the winning run while ace right-hander pitches nine innings in 1-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

August 05, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels right fielder Torii Hunter begins to celebrate as he heads toward home plate on the game-winning hit by left fielder Vernon Wells in the 10th inning Friday night against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium.
Angels right fielder Torii Hunter begins to celebrate as he heads toward… (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles…)

Jered Weaver is feeling a little invincible these days, which is understandable when you're pitching as well as he is and you just dominated the Seattle Mariners, a team that would struggle to score runs in the Pacific Coast League.

Maybe that's why the Angels' ace, after Vernon Wells' 10th-inning single gave his team a 1-0 walk-off win over the Mariners on Friday night, said he plans to go through with an appeal of a six-game suspension for throwing at the head of Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila last Sunday.

"I want my voice heard, so we're going to follow through with the appeal and see what happens," Weaver said after giving up seven hits in nine scoreless innings. "Mike [Scioscia] is cool with it. If he had a problem, he would have let me know."

Though Weaver appears to have little chance of getting the suspension lifted -- about the best he can do is get it reduced by a game -- he said he will meet with Major League Baseball officials in New York next week to give his side of the story. The Angels begin a three-game series in Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.

Had Weaver dropped the appeal after Friday night's game, he could have begun the suspension Saturday and returned to the rotation next Saturday in Toronto.

But if the suspension is upheld and Weaver starts serving it Tuesday or Wednesday, it may force the Angels to find a second replacement in the rotation next week.

"It's not our decision -- it's his decision, and it's his representatives' decision," Scioscia said. "He wants his side heard. We'll support him, whatever he decides."

Weaver (14-5) got a no-decision Friday night but was still superb, striking out eight and walking one to lower his major league-leading earned-run average to 1.78.

He set a franchise record with his 15th consecutive quality start, breaking the mark set by Frank Tanana in 1977.

The right-hander outlasted former Long Beach State teammate Jason Vargas, who gave up seven hits in six scoreless innings for Seattle.

"I was rooting for a 0-0 game, and let the bullpen decide it," said Long Beach State Coach Troy Buckley, who watched the game on television. "I very much like how it went."

So did Wells, who was hitless in his first four at-bats Friday night and is batting .211 since July 1.

After Torii Hunter singled to open the 10th and took second on a wild pitch, Wells lined a single to left-center for the Angels' first hit in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position in the game and his first walk-off hit in five years.

"I remember the last one vividly," Wells said. "It was a 10th-inning home run off Mariano Rivera" for the Toronto Blue Jays on July 20, 2006. "When I was rounding the bases, I thought, 'I just hit a walk-off homer off the greatest closer in the game.' I was shocked. I hope it won't take five years to do this again."

Seattle left fielder Trayvon Robinson, the Crenshaw High School product and former Dodgers prospect who was traded to Seattle last Sunday and made his big league debut Friday night, robbed Hunter of a two-run home run with a leaping catch over the short wall in the third inning.

But the Mariners did not advance a runner to second until the eighth inning, when Casper Wells singled with one out and Franklin Gutierrez walked. Robinson followed with a grounder to first baseman Mark Trumbo, who threw to second for the force out. Shortstop Erick Aybar deked a throw to first, spun and fired a back-door throw to third to nail Wells, who rounded the bag too far.

"That was a heads-up play by Erick," Scioscia said. "He knows he wasn't going to get the double play at first, the guy made too wide of a turn at third, and his throw was on the money."

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