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Angels, Weaver fall to Mariners, Scioscia calls private meeting

Despite loss, Angels manager notes that team is within striking distance of wild card after Seattle's Jesus Montero hits two homers for Seattle.

August 13, 2012|By Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia ordered a 20-minute closed-door meeting after the team's 4-1 loss to Seattle on Sunday with ace Jered Weaver on the mound.

The loss was the Angels' eighth in 11 games, resulting in their fifth consecutive lost series, and Weaver's unbeaten streak dating to May 13 was snapped.

Scioscia wouldn't reveal the contents of the discussion, but his focus in postgame remarks was squarely on the idea that the Angels (60-55) needed to be reminded that they are just two games out of American League wild-card position with 47 games remaining.

"Sometimes there's a tendency with a tough month like we've had … we are absolutely not buried," Scioscia said. "We are going to be in striking distance of our goal with one good week. And it starts with the first pitch tomorrow."

The problems Sunday were Seattle catcher Jesus Montero's two home runs off Weaver and the effectiveness of Weaver's former Long Beach State teammate, Mariners left-hander Jason Vargas (13-8).

Vargas outdueled the Cy Young Award front-runner with an 81/3-inning effort that included five strikeouts and a stretch of 13 consecutive Angels outs while the home team was one for nine with runners in scoring position.

"When you're not getting hits, it's going to seem like there's no energy, but Vargas made some good pitches," Scioscia said.

Weaver (15-2) sought his 10th victory in 10 starts, which would've tied Chuck Finley's 1997 team record. But he said he elevated a fastball to Montero for a second-inning homer, and left a 78-mph sixth-inning changeup high too, Montero pounding it over the left-field wall for his 12th homer of the season.

Montero is three for six against Weaver, with three homers.

"It's tough because this is when we need to step it up and get some momentum," Weaver said. "But it could snap" Monday against Cleveland. "Our pitching hasn't been on an upside. We know what we have to do as a staff."

History supported Weaver's cause, given that the American League victories and earned-run average leader was 8-0 with a 0.92 ERA at home this season and was 7-0 in 11 prior starts against the Mariners (53-63) in Anaheim.

Weaver and Vargas each gave up a second-inning run.

The Angels answered Montero's blast to center when Howie Kendrick walked, Erick Aybar singled him to third and Vernon Wells hit a sacrifice fly to deep right-center.

Three Angels singles loaded the bases with two outs in the third, but Vargas struck out Kendrick. Following an Aybar double in the fourth, Vargas retired the next 13 Angels.

Torii Hunter's one-out single in the eighth was followed by Albert Pujols' double-play grounder.

Pujols is mired in a one-for-23 slump.

Vargas was replaced by reliever Tom Wilhelmsen after Kendrick's triple in the ninth. Wilhelmsen retired the next two batters for his 16th save.

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