Weaver helps own cause in bounce-back effort

Weaver helps own cause in bounce-back effort

Weaver helps own cause in bounce-back effort
SAN DIEGO -- Don't count Jered Weaver among those who believe Interleague Play has become monotonous.

Not after a night in which the Angels' ace drew his second career walk and notched his fourth career hit -- then experienced what it was like to score from first base with the lightning-fast Mike Trout chasing after you on an eventual triple.

"It's kind of like a dog chasing you," Weaver described, "or running away from the cops or something."

Weaver's one-night offensive prowess, and his ensuing trek around the bases, was only an added bonus in a solid bounce-back effort, one that set the tone in the Angels' 7-2 victory over the Padres at Petco Park on Friday.

On Sunday night, Weaver had one of the worst starts of his career, giving up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings at Rangers Ballpark.

Five days later -- granted, against a weaker-hitting lineup and in a far more pitcher-friendly ballpark -- he bounced back, giving up just two runs on three hits and three walks in seven innings.

"It's easy to turn the page," Weaver said after moving to 6-1 with a 2.80 ERA. "If you worry about it and think about it, you're going to get yourself into some trouble leading into that next start."

The Angels (18-22) got the deciding runs in a three-run fifth inning that Weaver actually started by singling up the middle against Padres starter Jeff Suppan.

"I don't know what happened," Weaver said. "I just closed my eyes."

When he opened them, Trout had laced one down the left-field line, which extends to 336 feet, and Weaver had to run. Forget maintaining stamina for the rest of his start, or keeping himself fresh, or staying away from injury. Weaver had a really fast man behind him and a prime run-scoring opportunity in front of him.

So Weaver got his 6-foot-7 frame going.

And nearly 12 seconds later, he made it home standing up -- albeit fairly out of breath.

"You get these long legs moving, they get to move pretty good," Weaver said, holding back a smile. "It was fun, to run around the bases. It felt like Little League again."

"I picked my head up to see if [third-base coach] Dino [Ebel] was sending him," Trout said, "and as soon as I saw he was sending him, I just picked up speed and just tried to take the extra base."

Trout took the extra base a lot on Friday.

He took it by sliding headfirst into third base safely on his first Major League triple -- the first of many, no doubt -- took it by stealing his fourth base of the year after a leadoff walk, and even took it on a base hit up the middle on a ball bobbled by Cameron Maybin.

"I don't believe in singles," Trout said. "I'm just trying to be aggressive and trying to make things happen on the bases."

Trout is making things happen in a lot of ways from the top of the lineup. He reached base four times in the series opener -- on a walk, two singles and the three-bagger -- to put his batting average at .338 through his first 18 games, and .413 (19-for-46) in his last 12.

"You're seeing him get comfortable in the big leagues, you're seeing his skills, and he had good at-bats again tonight," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Mike's aggressive, and it fits right in with these guys."

Led by Trout, the Angels -- playing their first-regular season game at Petco Park -- finished with 11 hits and moved to 12-8 over their last 20 games.

Mark Trumbo, batting .531 during his current nine-game hitting streak, brought in the second run of the fifth on an RBI double, and Vernon Wells -- who also finished with two singles -- made it a 4-0 game by beating out a potential inning-ending double play.

Weaver's only real stressful inning was the seventh, which he began with two walks, but he got out of it with only one run across. Then the Angels plated three more in the top of the ninth to put the game away.

"Weaver just held us at bay," said Padres manager Bud Black, whose club fell to 14-26. "We just couldn't really break through against Weave with his assortment of pitches. We couldn't get the big knock."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.