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Angels have ace-high straight

Weaver goes seven strong innings and team completes surprising season sweep of Tigers.

June 28, 2013|Mike DiGiovanna

DETROIT — The rotation is depleted, with Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson sidelined by injuries for several weeks, but there was some encouraging news for the Angels on the pitching front Thursday.

They got their ace back.

The Angels scored two runs in the 10th inning to beat Detroit, 3-1, at Comerica Park. Albert Pujols snapped a tie with a run-scoring double to help the Angels complete a six-game season sweep of the American League Central-leading Tigers.

Mike Trout had his eighth career four-hit game, which included a single in the 10th; reliever Michael Kohn struck out Torii Hunter and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera with two on to end the eighth; and Ernesto Frieri closed with a scoreless 10th for his 19th save.

But the most significant development of the day was Jered Weaver's superb seven-inning effort in which he gave up one run and four hits, struck out six and walked two and retired the last 11 batters he faced.

"As the game went on, he got sharper," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He maintained his fastball and finished strong against a tough club on a really hot day. We're very confident he's going to pitch more like today than he did in his last couple of starts."

Weaver, who missed seven weeks of April and May because of a left elbow fracture, went 0-3 with a 6.62 earned-run average in his previous three starts, his fastball not as crisp and the command of his off-speed pitches not as sharp.

Thursday, he pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season, looking much more like the right-hander who went 20-5 with a 2.81 ERA and finished third in AL Cy Young Award voting in 2012.

Weaver's fastball sat in the 87-mph range, touched 88 mph, and he kept the Tigers off-balance with his well-placed curves and changeups. Of Weaver's 102 pitches, 64 were strikes.

"It feels good, it's something to build on going into my next start," Weaver said. "It's definitely a confidence booster. You try to not feel any added pressure because of the injuries, but you definitely want to go out there and keep the team in the game."

J.B. Shuck started the winning rally in the 10th with a leadoff single off left-hander Phil Coke, and he took third on Trout's single to right. Pujols followed with a drive to deep center that barely eluded Austin Jackson, who nearly made a spectacular, Willie Mays-like over-the-shoulder catch.

The ball glanced off Jackson's glove, hit the wall and fell to the ground for an RBI double and a 2-1 Angels lead. Howie Kendrick was walked intentionally to load the bases, and Josh Hamilton hit a sacrifice fly to left to make it 3-1.

Frieri allowed a leadoff single to Brayan Pena in the bottom of the 10th but retired the next three batters, as the Angels, who have won nine straight against Detroit dating back to last season, completed their first Comerica Park sweep since 2002.

The Tigers scored in the second on Pena's single. The Angels scored in the fourth on consecutive singles by Hamilton, Alberto Callaspo and Brad Hawpe.

The Angels, still 10 games back in the AL West, went 6-0 against the Tigers, including a three-game sweep in Anaheim in April. But they're 30-43 against everyone else.

"We've played good ball against these guys," Weaver said. "Obviously, the season hasn't gone quite like we wanted to. We need to start playing this way against everybody and see if we can get something rolling."


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