Weaver and Downs Blank Tribe; Angels 3, Indians 0
By Bob Toth
On Monday night, Jered Weaver gave Clevelanders a taste of how he sports the second-best ERA in the American League and how he made their All-Star team, as Los Angeles shut down the resurgent Indians’ offense, 3-0.
Weaver (9-1) dominated the Indians throughout the night. After giving up a one-out single to Carlos Santana in the second inning, he retired 11 batters in a row. He gave the Angels seven-plus innings, only running into trouble late. He was able to work out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the seventh, and with the help of the Angels’ bullpen the rest of the way, would escape with the shutout and the victory. Weaver has now won six consecutive decisions and has allowed no more than two earned runs in any of these starts.
“[Weaver] is very deceptive. That helps,” Indians Manager Manny Acta said. “His location and command of his pitches make him effective.”
The Indians would waste a quality start by Ubaldo Jimenez (7-7). He gave the Tribe seven and two-thirds innings, allowing three earned runs on eight hits, walking four (two intentionally) and striking out four. He seemed to be matching Weaver early on, but his path through the game was far more challenging. Until the eighth, he had managed to escape most of the damage and kept the Indians in the ballgame.
The Angels would draw first blood, but not until the fifth inning. Howie Kendrick was hit by a pitch from Jimenez to start the frame. On the strikeout that followed of Peter Bourjos, Kendrick stole second without a throw, despite Bourjos shielding the catcher Santana from a clear shot of throwing the runner out. Kendrick moved to third on a single to left by light-hitting catcher Bobby Wilson, and would score on a sacrifice fly to deep center by Erick Aybar, putting the Angels on top, 1-0.
In the top of the seventh, the Angels would strike for another run, but it could have been worse. Alberto Callaspo led off the inning with a single to right. With Kendrick at the plate and nobody out, Callaspo was thrown out attempting to steal on what looked like a missed hit-and-run. After Jimenez worked the count full, Kendrick would slug a solo home run to the bleachers in left field to make it a 2-0 Angels’ lead.
The Indians would not even get a runner into scoring position until the seventh inning. Jason Kipnis, after getting ahead in the count 3-0, would draw a walk on a full-count, payoff pitch from Weaver. Michael Brantley sharply lined a single to right. Santana took a mighty hack before ultimately drawing a walk himself on five pitches to load the bases with nobody out against Weaver.
As quickly as the Tribe built the rally, it crumbled to a horrifying hault. Johnny Damon grounded out to third baseman Callaspo, who would throw home to force Kipnis at the plate for the first out. Casey Kotchman would pop up just mere feet behind home plate to Angels’ catcher Wilson for out number two. To cap things off, Shelley Duncan struck out on five pitches. Rally over, threat over, Angels remained on top, 2-0.
The Indians now, on the season, are batting .203 with the bases loaded.
The eighth inning would spell the end for Jimenez. Aybar led off the inning with a single to right. A groundout moved him to second, allowing an intentional walk to the always-dangerous Albert Pujols. Kendrys Morales grounded out unassisted to Jimenez for the second out, moving Aybar and Pujols up 90 feet and allowing Acta to elect to intentionally walk Mark Trumbo to load the bases and put the force play on at any base. The plan backfired though, as Jimenez missed badly on four straight pitches to walk in Aybar from third and give the Angels a 3-0 lead.
Joe Smith would relieve and retire Kendrick on a groundout to leave the bases loaded.
“[Ubaldo] threw a very good game and deserves a lot of credit,” Acta said. “He just couldn’t make a pitch there. I think he deserved to be out there. He was good, stamina-wise. He had pitched a great game. He’s a guy who can go deep in the game.”
Ubaldo allowed six of the eight leadoff hitters he faced to reach base, and these leadoff men accounted for two of the three runs the Halos would score on the night.
The Indians would again string together one more rally opportunity in the bottom of the eighth, only to see it, too, defused as quick as it began. Back-to-back singles to right by Jack Hannahan and Shin-Soo Choo brought Asdrubal Cabrera to the plate to face Scott Downs, in for Weaver in relief. Cabrera, batting right-handed for the first time in the game, grounded weakly to the shortstop, starting the 6-4-3 double play. Kipnis then popped out to shallow center field to end the threat and strand a runner at third.
Downs would remain on through the ninth and retired the Tribe quickly for his seventh save of the season. He worked two perfect innings of relief, improving his ERA on the season to 0.32.
With the loss, the Indians (40-39) start their seven-game home stand off on a bad note, especially after the offensive explosion throughout the series in Baltimore. The Angels (45-35) now trail the idle Texas Rangers by five games in the American League West.
Zach McAllister (2-1, 3.82) will make his second start Tuesday since being recalled to replace demoted starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez. The start will be McAllister’s sixth of the season and the first of his career against Los Angeles. Right-hander Dan Haren (6-7, 4.53) will make the start for the Angels. Despite winning two of his last three outings, he has given up five runs or more in each of those starts.
Game two of this three-game set in Cleveland resumes Tuesday evening. Catch the game live at 7:05 pm ET on SportsTimeOhio and the Cleveland Indians radio network.