Solid Weaver notches win against Mariners
Four doubles score three early and Halos never give up lead
SEATTLE -- Jered Weaver knew he wasn't right in the bullpen, and he's been right so often recently that the feeling was fresh in his mind. His fastballs were staying up, his breaking pitches weren't as crisp, so the Angels' ace figured it was going to be a long night and said as much to his catcher.
"I told Chris [Iannetta] it's probably going to be one of those days where we have to go out there and battle and try to make the most of it," Weaver said. "We ended up doing all right."
Weaver battled shaky command to nonetheless notch his fifth consecutive quality start, benefitting from a second inning in which his offense amassed four doubles as the Angels beat the Mariners, 6-4, at Safeco Field on Tuesday night.
It was the Angels' 13th win in the last 18 games, giving them a 21-12 record that's the second-best in the Majors since April 21. But any postgame excitement was spoiled by the news that lefty reliever Sean Burnett -- three appearances into his return from a nine-month rehabilitation from August elbow surgery -- felt elbow discomfort in the seventh inning and had to be taken out, on his way to being re-evaluated in Southern California.
"We're praying that it's nothing serious, man," Weaver said. "He's worked his [butt] off to get back to this point."
Weaver entered with a 1.70 ERA in his previous seven starts, then scattered seven hits, walked three batters and threw only 63 of his 102 pitches for strikes. In a long fourth inning, he gave up a leadoff homer to Justin Smoak -- a .375 hitter against the Angels this season -- then singles to Kyle Seager and Nick Franklin, a four-pitch walk to No. 9 hitter Brad Miller and a run-scoring wild pitch on a ball Iannetta was crossed up on.
But the 31-year-old right-hander blanked the Mariners (25-26) over the next two frames and finished throwing six innings of three-run ball, winning for the fifth time in the last six starts while putting his ERA at 2.99.
"I felt all right for the most part," Weaver said, "but didn't feel as crisp as I had in previous starts. It was just one of those games where you had to battle."
The Angels did most of their battling in the top of the second, their first four-double inning since Aug. 21, 2007. David Freese doubled off the center-field wall, C.J. Cron scored him on a double to deep left field, and Erick Aybar and Iannetta laced RBI doubles in the left-center field gap to give the Angels an early 3-0 lead.
"They just hit the ball well that inning," Mariners starter Roenis Elias said through a translator. "There were a few pitches that were a little high, but nothing I can do about it now."
Grant Green scored the Angels' fourth run in the fourth, hitting a leadoff single and coming home on Howie Kendrick's double-play ball. And Cron made it a three-run game in the seventh with a leadoff homer to left-center field, his third on the year.
The two of them are fighting to stay on the roster when Josh Hamilton (bone bruise in his left thumb) returns from the disabled list, and they're making it a really hard decision on Mike Scioscia.
Green (1-for-3 with a hard lineout) is batting .388 in 18 games and can cover up to five positions. Cron (2-for-4) is batting .300 while providing some much-needed power.
"We have some decisions coming up; some decisions that might be tough," Scioscia said. "But those guys have certainly contributed a lot, and they're putting their best foot forward. That's all you can ask from any young player. They're doing a very good job for us."