Power ball gives Halos series sweep
Morales launches two three-run blasts; Weaver strikes out 11
MINNEAPOLIS -- There was power pitching for a change to go with all the offensive thunder, and the combination had Angels manager Mike Scioscia beaming as he said his farewells on Sunday to the Metrodome and carried a five-game winning streak to Chicago.
Kendry Morales launched a pair of three-run homers for a career-high six RBIs as the Angels, buoyed by Jered Weaver's high-caliber mound work, finished their assault on the Twins with a 13-4 send-off in their final game inside the Dome.
"Our offense is unbelievable," Weaver said. "Everybody is locked in, one through nine. It makes it easier when guys are swinging the bats the way they are."
While the offense was erupting for the third day in a row with a two-run homer by Sean Rodriguez complementing Morales' matching blasts, Weaver provided the exclamation mark with a career-high 11 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings to complete an overpowering three-game sweep.
"I felt good," Weaver said, echoing the sentiments of fellow starters Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders the previous two nights. "I really don't know what the dead-arm thing is -- I've never really been through it. Today my arm slot felt more consistent and I was getting a little bit of extension.
"Hopefully, I can build off this one and throw better next time."
Weaver is 11-3, having had some ups and downs since unleashing a shutout against the Padres at home on June 14.
"Weav had some of the best stuff we've seen in his last handful of starts," Scioscia said. "He really had a sharp breaking ball. Those 11 strikeouts are indicative of good life on his fastball and being able to change speeds the way he can.
"They have some tough left-handed hitters over there, and he pitched well."
The Angels' thunder came from the right side -- believed to be Morales' weaker half even though it is from that side where he first began to swing a bat in his youth in Cuba.
"Early on, he wasn't getting a lot of at-bats from the left side," Scioscia said. "It took him a while to get his feet on the ground. You could see the swing was there."
Morales unloaded against starter Glen Perkins with two outs in the five-run fifth inning and again during a four-run eighth, against another lefty, Jose Mijares.
"I've been able to see the ball better from that side, reading patterns," Morales said, having raised his average against lefties to .275 and his slugging percentage to .475. "I made a couple of adjustments with my hands."
Overall, Morales is batting .299 and slugging .581, with a team-high 23 homers and 69 RBIs.
Mark Teixeira's able replacement at first base, Morales is chasing the Twins' firm of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, who lead the American League in slugging at .592 and .588, respectively.
"It seems like whoever they put in the lineup gets two hits," Morneau said. "[Howard] Kendrick didn't play the first two days and then all of a sudden he comes in and gets hits. Rodriguez hasn't exactly played a lot but he hits a home run.
"That's a hot team. They have confidence as a team. It's tough when you go up and everything that hits their bat finds a hole."
Morales, Bobby Abreu, Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli have provided consistent force in the middle of the lineup with Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero on the disabled list. The Angels are 17-3 without the dynamic duo.
Weaver yielded a run in the first and solo homers by Orlando Cabrera in the fourth and Morneau in the seventh. He departed after Jason Kubel doubled in the seventh. Brendan Harris brought Kubel home with a single.
Weaver struck out the side in the third and fifth innings and allowed only four hits and two walks. He fanned every Twins hitter except Morneau, whose homer was his 28th.
The Angels lashed 52 hits in the series, scoring 35 runs. That's the third highest run total for a three-game set in franchise history, falling two short of the record set by the 2004 Angels in August against the Royals.
Rodriguez's bomb to center, his second of the season, came in the second after catcher Jeff Mathis' single. Rodriguez added a sacrifice fly in the fourth for a three-RBI day.
Abreu, Morales, Kendrick, Gary Matthews Jr. and Mathis each had multi-hit efforts.
The Angels finished 78-72 at the Metrodome. The crowning triumph came in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series in 2002.
A 6-3 victory in front of a Metrodome-record 55,990 fans sent Scioscia's troupe home tied. Three wins in a row sent the Halos to a memorable World Series against the Giants, who fell to them in seven games.
"There are some great memories here," Scioscia said. "Playing in the playoffs, you couldn't hear yourself think. We beat some tough pitchers in that series. They really had a good team."
More memories will be made in a new outdoor park that opens next season.
"I'm glad to see L.A. leave," Mauer said. "That's probably the biggest thing."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.