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TOR@LAA: Weaver dominates the Jays, strikes out 15

ANAHEIM -- On Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium, Jered Weaver was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Striking out a career-high 15 batters, Weaver gave the bullpen a much needed day of rest, pitching 7 2/3 innings and helping the Angels to a 3-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in front of 43,525.

Weaver's performance was only the 14th time in Major League history that a pitcher recorded 15 or more strikeouts in fewer than eight innings.

"I just wanted to go out there, knowing we had a long one last night, and I wanted to extend it as much as possible," Weaver said. "We [were] able to mix a few runs together, and that was enough to work with."

After a night in which the bullpen pitched 9 1/3 innings in a 14 inning win, Weaver allowed the bullpen to only have to pitch 1 1/3 innings.

Along with the new career high in strikeouts, the Angels' righty gave up only one run on four hits for his third straight win to begin the season. With the win, Weaver is 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA.

woven into history
Jered Weaver's performance marked the 14th time in MLB history that a pitcher has struck out 15 or more batters in a game in fewer than eight innings.
Date Pitcher Team K's IP Opp
04/10/11 Jered Weaver LAA 15 7.2 TOR
09/30/09 Ricky Nolasco FLA 16 7.2 ATL
04/25/07 Jake Peavy SD 16 7.0 ARI
05/22/06 Jake Peavy SD 16 7.0 ATL
04/10/05 John Smoltz ATL 15 7.1 NYM
09/27/01 Randy Johnson ARI 16 6.2 MIL
08/23/01 Randy Johnson ARI 16 7.0 PIT
07/18/01 Randy Johnson ARI 16 7.0 SDP
09/24/00 Mike Mussina BAL 15 7.0 BOS
08/01/99 Al Leiter NYM 15 7.0 CHC
09/23/95 Randy Johnson SEA 15 7.1 OAK
09/16/93 Randy Johnson SEA 15 7.1 KC
05/11/90 Dwight Gooden NYM 15 7.0 LAD
06/07/67 Gary Nolan CIN 15 7.2 SF

Weaver's 15 strikeouts were the most by an Angels pitcher since Chuck Finley did it against the Yankees on May 23, 1995. He also set a Major League high for punch-outs in a game this season.

"He threw three pitches down and away to righties, and three pitches down and away to lefties," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "You can never sit on one pitch. He has very good command of his changeup, breaking ball for strikes, breaking ball for put away. The numbers he puts up are not by accident."

Weaver felt like the keys to his success on Sunday were both his fastball and slider.

"It is a tough lineup to face, and I just had fastball command early and my slider is as good as it has been in a long time," Weaver said. "It matched up pretty well against a bunch of righties in their lineup."

The Angels' bats helped Weaver early in the game, when in the first inning, with runners at the corners -- after a walk by Howard Kendrick and a single by Bobby Abreu -- Torii Hunter singled to left field, scoring Kendrick and giving Weaver and the Angels an early 1-0 lead.

With the single, Hunter has now hit safely in his last six games.

Getting a little help from the Blue Jays in the fourth after an infield single by Alberto Callapso, Mark Trumbo got on base when center fielder Rajai Davis had a pop fly hit off his glove, putting runners on first and second with nobody out.

With two outs, center fielder Peter Bourjos tripled into the right-center-field gap, scoring both Callaspo and Trumbo to give the Halos a 3-0 lead.

"We didn't get him a lot of runs today, but we got him some early runs that helped him to pitch through some of the issues when they bunched some hits together," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

Trying to put together a rally after managing only one hit off Weaver in the first five innings, the Blue Jays strung together three straight hits in the sixth -- including an RBI single to left field by Yunel Escobar.

Yet, as Weaver's pitch count climbed over the 100 mark, so did his propensity to walk batters. After getting Jose Molina out to begin the eighth inning, the righty then walked both John McDonald and Escobar.

After the two walks, Weaver faced Jose Bautista and did what he had done most of the day: He struck out the homer happy right fielder. After the strikeout, Weaver was lifted for reliever Hisanori Takahashi, who got Adam Lind to ground out to end the inning.

While Weaver did say he felt a little winded in the eighth, both Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher felt he had enough in the tank to stay on the mound.

"The 3-2 pitch to Bautista was a slider, and thank God he swung at it or it would have been bases loaded," Weaver said. "It was a good win, and Bobby [Wilson] and I had a great feel going. It was fun to be out there."

Weaver improved to 7-1 with a 2.68 lifetime ERA against the Jays, while also winning his last five starts against them.

"I was just trying to get ahead in the count, and when you do that, you are going to get some strikeouts," Weaver said. "I was able to do that today, and hopefully this gives us some momentum going into our series with Cleveland."

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