Jered Weaver couldn't have been too disappointed to face the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night in his first game back after a three-week stint on the disabled list.
The right-hander, recovering from a lower-back strain, was on an 85-pitch limit, and he had a cooperative foe in the free-swinging Giants, who rank 25th in the majors with an average of only 3.74 pitches per plate appearance.
Those numbers worked in Weaver's favor, the ace needing only 78 pitches to breeze through six innings in a 6-0 interleague victory in Angel Stadium.
Weaver gave up two hits, struck out three batters, walked two and allowed one runner to reach second base, improving to 7-1 and lowering his earned-run average to 2.40. Jason Isringhausen, Scott Downs and Jordan Walden each threw one inning to complete the Angels' major league-leading 10th shutout.
"Some guys were aggressive and some were patient -- that's what makes them so good," Weaver said. "But we came up with a game plan to deal with it. My off-speed pitches helped me against their most aggressive hitters."
Weaver threw 71 pitches in five innings, and after needing seven pitches to retire the side in order in the sixth inning, it appeared he might start the seventh. But there was no negotiating with Manager Mike Scioscia, who went to the bullpen.
"I knew there was no talking to him on that one, so I just bowed my head and walked past him," Weaver said. "It was a little weird. I was like, 'Man, this is bull,' but at the same time, I knew it was going to happen."
The Angels won for the 20th time in 27 games and improved their interleague record to a major league-best 72-33 since 2007.
They broke open a 3-0 game with three runs in the eighth inning, as Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo hit consecutive home runs, the team-leading 17th for Trumbo and eighth for Morales, and Howie Kendrick and Bobby Wilson each doubled.
Alberto Callaspo hit a solo home run in the second inning against starter Ryan Vogelsong, who suffered his first road loss since August, and Kendrick sparked a two-run fifth inning with a double to center field.
Erick Aybar's run-scoring single to left field made it 2-0, and after Wilson was hit by a pitch, 20-year-old rookie Mike Trout hit a run-scoring single to right-center field for a 3-0 lead. Trout, who also singled in the seventh, is second in the American League in hitting (.338) and third in on-base percentage (.397).
Though he joined the Angels on April 28, Trout leads the team with 40 runs, 19 stolen bases, 21 multi-hit games and a .366 average (15 for 41) with runners in scoring position. He has been touted as a rising star, one who should make the All-Star game this season.
Trout is in bigger media demand than any Angel, including Albert Pujols, and the sheer volume of copy and airtime devoted to him would make even the most even-keeled kid's head swell.
The Angels can't shield the outfielder from such publicity, but Scioscia feels that Trout has his feet planted firmly on the ground.
"You can't put people in a plastic bubble," Scioscia "Major League Baseball brings scrutiny; sometimes it's positive, sometimes it's negative. That's the real world.
"I think most guys who have that ability at such a young age also have the poise to match it. I think he has a family and teammates who will keep him grounded. He understands it's all part of playing baseball, and that's what he's doing."