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Balanced Angels back Weaver in rout of Bucs

June 3, 2016

PITTSBURGH -- Mike Trout reached base four times, Kole Calhoun homered and the Angels put together a complete offensive performance in their first game at PNC Park in 12 years, beating the Pirates, 9-2, on Friday night.The Angels strung together 15 hits, drew 10 walks and scored seven times through

PITTSBURGH -- Mike Trout reached base four times, Kole Calhoun homered and the Angels put together a complete offensive performance in their first game at PNC Park in 12 years, beating the Pirates, 9-2, on Friday night.
The Angels strung together 15 hits, drew 10 walks and scored seven times through the first four innings, forcing Pirates starter Francisco Liriano to exit after recording only 10 outs. Yunel Escobar, Johnny Giavotella, Carlos Perez, Shane Robinson, Calhoun and Trout each notched two hits, and every Angels starter except their pitcher, Jered Weaver, recorded at least one.
Backed by an early cushion, Weaver gave up back-to-back homers to Starling Marte and Jung Ho Kang in the second but little else besides that, scattering only four other hits in six innings.
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"I think for a while there we were struggling a little bit, and we all kind of broke out," Calhoun said. "It's nice to play baseball like that. We're playing baseball as a team, getting timely hits, throwing the ball well, and we've been in a lot of ballgames lately."

Trout increased his on-base percentage to an American League-leading .424, while Albert Pujols reached base three times to put his slash line at .304/.402/.532 over his last 21 games. Giavotella's 2-for-5 game put his batting average at .337 since the start of May. The Angels' offense has averaged 5.06 runs per game since the start of May, the fourth-highest average in the Majors.
"There's no doubt that guys who were having a hard time in April have gotten some hits to fall in," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're getting a little bit of contributions from everybody on the good games when we're scoring, and that's the first step in hopefully our lineup getting a little deeper."

Guns blazin': Each of the first five Angels batters reached base to start this series, giving them a really quick 3-0 lead on Liriano and the Pirates. Escobar singled, Calhoun drew a walk, Trout hit an RBI single, Pujols drew a walk and Giavotella followed with a two-run single. It marked the fourth time the Angels have scored three or more runs in the first inning this season.
"You can be more aggressive," Weaver said of what the early lead does for his approach on the mound. "You don't have to be as fine with pitches. It doesn't really change the whole aspect of what you're trying to do, but you don't have to worry about being too fine." More >

Two runs are better than none: In the second inning, Marte and Kang hit back-to-back solo home runs near the same area of left field, getting the Pirates on the board. Kang had two hits and Marte finished a triple short of the cycle, as the two combined for five of the Pirates' eight hits.

Believe in Weave: Weaver hit 85 mph four times while limiting a Pirates lineup that had scored the sixth-most runs in the Majors to only two runs through the first six innings. Weaver pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning, then faced the Nos. 2-5 hitters in the sixth and left without giving up any additional runs. It marked his team-leading sixth quality start in 11 tries this season, though his ERA is still 5.18.
"I think he hit good spots," Scioscia said. "Outside of the second inning, where a couple of fastballs he missed with ended up as home runs, I think he used all his pitches well. That's six innings against a tough lineup."
Liriano struggles again: Liriano earned his fourth loss in his last five starts, giving up 10 hits and seven runs before being pulled in favor of Rob Scahill in the fourth. Liriano has allowed 12 runs (11 earned) on 16 hits over his last two starts, totaling 9 1/3 innings. He has allowed three home runs over those two starts and walked eight. More >

"Not making pitches, not executing pitches, getting behind in the count too much and I don't know, like I said, going through a tough time right now and got to keep working, keep fighting and find a way to get better." -- Liriano, on why he has struggled in his last few starts

"It's getting better, yeah. You'll know when I feel good again. … I'm not 100 percent, but when you're 33 years old and have a lot of innings, you're not going to feel 100 percent all the time. I'm still working to get back to feeling better than 55 percent. But I'm still going to go out there and take the ball." -- Weaver, when asked if his lingering neck tightness is improving
The Pirates went to replay to overturn an initial safe call on Robinson and end the top of the third. Robinson hustled into second base after hitting a run-scoring chopper over the head of Kang. But replay showed that Josh Harrison's tag -- which caught Robinson in the face, prompting him to get evaluated -- came just before he reached the bag.

The Angels overturned their own safe call at second base in the bottom half on an attempted steal by Gregory Polanco, who slid directly into Giavotella's glove just as he was catching the throw from Perez. Polanco's right foot hit the glove right before his left one touched the base. The Angels are 6-for-17 in challenges this season. The Pirates are 7-for-17.

Angels:Nick Tropeano was scratched from his Saturday start at PNC Park, prompting Jhoulys Chacin to take his place in the second of a three-game series at 1:05 p.m. PT. Chacin (2-3, 4.42 ERA) threw a complete game against the Tigers on Monday, giving up one run on four hits and a walk while striking out 10.
Pirates: Left-hander Jeff Locke (4-3, 4.33 ERA) will take the mound as the Pirates try to avoid their fifth straight loss in a 4:05 p.m. ET start. In his last start, Locke pitched his first career complete game in the Pirates' 10-0 shutout over the Marlins.
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Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast.

Sarah K. Spencer is a reporter for based in Pittsburgh.