Angels offense picks up ailing Weaver
Aybar leads hitting outburst with career-high four RBIs
OAKLAND -- Angels starter Jered Weaver picked the perfect day to have the worst outing in his otherwise brilliant season.
Weaver became "nauseous and woozy" after the first inning and lasted only 3 2/3 innings, but the Angels pounded out 14 hits Saturday and crushed the A's 11-6.
Chone Figgins led off the game against A's rookie Vin Mazzaro with a homer over the right-field wall. By the end of the day, every Angels starter had at least one hit.
Erick Aybar had a career-high four RBIs, and Kendry Morales had a pair of hits, extending his hitting streak to 18 games.
The Angels' much-maligned bullpen had a stellar day, too. Four relievers combined to hold the Athletics to one run over the final 5 1/3 innings.
Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said Weaver felt fine warming up but was hit with "some kind of viral thing" after the first inning.
"He was getting the shakes," Scioscia said. "[We] tried to keep fluids in him. Unfortunately, he was out of gas."
Weaver actually blanked the A's for the first two innings before giving up one run in the third and four in the fourth.
"There's been some stuff going around, but I haven't felt like this in a while," Weaver said. "So it's kind of a bummer, but no excuses. The bullpen came in and held it down, and the offense obviously did their thing, like they've been doing. So it was nice to get picked up like that."
Weaver is 10-3 overall with a 3.48 ERA, but in his last six starts, his ERA is 7.29. Weaver, though, shot down the idea that he might have a tired arm.
"I feel great," Weaver said. "No troubles -- everything feels good. ... I've just been getting away from the game plan, trying to be too fine, instead of being aggressive and getting some early outs."
Darren Oliver relieved Weaver and pitched 1 2/3 hitless, scoreless innings, picking up the win and improving to 4-0. Next up was Jason Bulger, who pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings of his own. Then it was Kevin Jepsen's turn to blank the A's for an inning. In the ninth, Matt Palmer gave up a solo home run to Jack Cust.
Not bad for a Halos bullpen that owned the second-highest ERA in the American League coming into the game.
"It was a good job," Oliver said of the 'pen. "It was one of those things that had to be done. We're just glad to contribute any way we can. We're just trying to get wins any way we can."
The Angels' offense, despite missing the injured Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero, continued to rack up runs.
In the third inning, Los Angeles scored six times, giving Weaver a 7-0 cushion. They collected six hits, two A's errors, a stolen base and an intentional walk during the outburst.
Reggie Willits started the rally, singling to center and stealing second base. Figgins then laid down a beautiful drag bunt that A's Adam Kennedy airmailed past first baseman Jason Giambi for a two-base error, making it 2-0 Angels.
"We keep putting pressure on," Figgins said. "We keep having good at-bats and we keep putting people on base. ... We're not truly one of those teams that keeps hitting home runs. We hit more line drives and hard ground balls. I always say if we can keep that train going, that's better for our offense."
After Maicer Izturis struck out, Bobby Abreu laced an RBI single to center. Then Juan Rivera one-hopped a double off the left-field wall, moving Abreu to third. Mazzaro intentionally walked Morales, loading the bases, and Mike Napoli responded with a bloop RBI single to right.
It appeared as though Mazzaro would escape without additional damage when Gary Matthews Jr. flew out to left, Rivera tagged up and Matt Holliday threw a strike to catcher Landon Powell. The ball arrived well ahead of Rivera, but Powell dropped the throw, allowing Rivera to score. Then Aybar grounded a two-run single to right, giving the Angels a 7-0 cushion.
"It was one of the worst games of the year defensively," A's manager Bob Geren said. "We made a couple weeks' worth of mistakes in one inning. It was a very poor performance, really."
Seemingly every time the A's made a mistake, the Angels took advantage.
"The offense has been awesome the last month or so," Weaver said. "It's fun to watch them go to work."
For the ailing Weaver, the Angels' offense turned out to be the best medicine.
Eric Gilmore is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.