Weaver outshined by Felix in Seattle
Angels ace allows nine hits while bats are shut down
SEATTLE -- After missing nearly two months with a broken arm, Angels right-hander Jered Weaver was finally on a roll.
Heading into his start Saturday night against Seattle, he was coming off back-to-back victories and had a 0.89 ERA over his previous three starts.
Then along came his opposing pitcher, Felix Hernandez. The Mariners' ace right-hander wouldn't give the Angels much of anything, holding them to seven hits in eight innings of a 6-0 victory.
Weaver allowed a three-run, sixth-inning home run to first baseman Justin Smoak, who had four RBIs.
"I tried to battle, tried not make a mistake there, trying to keep your team in the game," Weaver (3-5) said. "With the way Felix was throwing, one run would have made a difference. Smoak had a big home run there. Obviously, it was the difference in the game. Felix was dominant tonight."
Hernandez (10-4) struck out four and walked none. He also took over the American League's ERA leadership at 2.53.
"Felix is tough," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We've gotten to him here and there. Tonight, he made the pitches when he had to. We hit the ball early on with not much to show for it. He changed speeds well. He pitched a strong game for them.
"Weav pitched with his back against the wall. We gave away a run early when Hank [Conger] just couldn't come up with the throw. And we couldn't get out of the sixth inning."
Weaver worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the second inning with a Mike Zunino comebacker that he turned into a 1-6-3 double play.
He faced the same situation in the fourth as Kendrys Morales and Kyle Seager singled with one out. Smoak, in a 10-pitch at-bat, rapped a single to right that Josh Hamilton gathered on one hop.
Morales, who is not fast, was waved around third and appeared ready to run into catcher Conger's tag. But Conger dropped the ball and the Mariners led, 1-0. Weaver would get out of the inning with another double play.
"I think he just missed it," Scioscia said of Conger.
Then in the sixth, Weaver was seemingly in control after he retired the first two batters. Morales then singled and took third on Seager's single.
Smoak stepped up and hit Weaver's first pitch over the center-field wall for his eighth home run. It also extended the Mariners' club record of hitting at least one home run in 21 straight games.
"It was not a bad pitch, fastball down and away," Weaver said. "Maybe living on the outside part of the plate too much. It looked like he was sitting on something away."
One batter later, Weaver was lifted, matching his second-shortest start of the season, 5 2/3 innings. He allowed nine hits -- matching his season high -- struck out three and did not walk a batter.
"I've battled against that guy every since [he was with] Texas," Weaver said of Smoak. "You see these guys a lot. You try to switch it up as much as possible. Sometimes they get you, and sometimes you get the out. You tip your cap when they do."
This was the 10th time the teams' aces opposed each other, and Weaver had the clear advantage. He came in with a 5-1 record and 3.02 ERA, while Hernandez was 1-6 with a 5.88 ERA in those matchups.
Mike Trout had a triple in his three at-bats against Hernandez. He is now 15-for-33 (.455) with a home run, two doubles and two triples in his career against him.
Hamilton and Albert Pujols went 0-for-8 against Hernandez, who blew a 7-0 lead on the way to a 10-9 Mariners loss the last time he faced the Angels.
"You know Pujols is a good hitter," Hernandez said. "I just try to make good pitches and make him feel uncomfortable, and like I said, that was the key right there.
"First of all, to keep Trout off the bases is very important, and that's what I did today, except the triple. I just tried to make good pitches. You know what happened last game against these guys, and my mindset was just trying to attack the hitters and throw strikes."
This was just Weaver's second loss in 15 decisions in July since 2011.