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Angels' Tyler Chatwood has rough outing against Tampa Bay

The rookie fills in after scheduled starter Jered Weaver spends part of the weekend in the hospital with a stomach virus. The Rays score five times in a bizarre first inning.

May 01, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Angels starter Tyler Chatwood delivers a pitch against the Rays during the game Sunday at Tropicana Field.
Angels starter Tyler Chatwood delivers a pitch against the Rays during… (J. Meric / Getty Images )

Reporting from St. Petersburg, Fla.

Rookie Tyler Chatwood sat alone in front of his locker Sunday morning wearing a pair of shorts, a red Angels hoodie and a scowl.

He was supposed to be nothing more than a spectator for the day's game with Tampa Bay. But after scheduled starter Jered Weaver spent part of the weekend in the hospital with a stomach virus, Chatwood was rushed to the mound to take his place.

And a couple of hours later Chatwood's game face had become a look of bewilderment after the Rays scored five times in what was arguably the Angels' most bizarre first inning of the year.

Seven of the nine men that batted in the inning got hits — but only two balls were hit well. Two players appeared to have been thrown out on the bases, only to be called safe — the first on a close play at third, the other when third baseman Alberto Callaspo dropped the ball. Both Rays later scored.

And three of the run-scoring singles in the inning came on two-strike pitches.

"I was just trying to fight through it, battle through it," Chatwood said.

"They didn't do too much," Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said of the Rays. "A couple of the balls weren't pretty base hits, but they went with some tough pitches."

Weaver reportedly lost nine pounds to his illness and had to receive fluids intravenously. He looked tired and weak Sunday morning but still tried to talk Scioscia into letting him pitch — a debate Scioscia said Weaver had "a 0.0% chance" of winning.

"If this was the seventh game of the World Series, I think you'd see him out there," Scioscia said. "In the big picture, we're talking about now to the end of the season, how many starts is he going to get, the impact he's going to have on the team. This one day alone will be absorbed and forgotten about."

Weaver, who has a baseball-best 6-0 record and the American League's best earned-run average at 0.99, is tentatively scheduled to pitch Monday's opener of a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway. He's likely to be opposed by right-hander Clay Buchholz, who was scratched from his Sunday start with what Boston Manager Terry Francona called "intestinal turmoil," according to the Boston Herald.

'Pen remains mighty

The Angels got five scoreless innings from a quartet of relievers Sunday, lowering their bullpen ERA to a league-best 2.43.

Especially impressive were left-hander Scott Downs, who went a season-high two innings and stranded three runners in scoring position, and right-hander Rich Thompson, who struck out three of the four batters he faced.

Calling the Hunter

Torii Hunter, who has started game-winning or game-tying rallies in the last two games, said he relishes those challenges.

"Every player…should want to be in that situation. And that's what I want," he said.

In addition to scoring the go-ahead run Sunday, Hunter drove in another in the Angels' four-run fifth inning, when they erased the last of a 5-0 deficit.

"When you're down five runs you just keep plugging away. And that's what we did," Hunter said. "We just tried to take it one pitch, one at-bat, one inning at a time. And we did that."

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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