06/04/09 12:12 AM ET
Weaver cashes in K's on career night
Righty strikes out 10 batters; Halos climb above .500 mark
By David Singh / Special to MLB.com
Weaver continued his brilliant string of outings on Wednesday, as he struck out a career-high 10 batters and led the Angels to an 8-1 win over Toronto at Rogers Centre.
Just a night before, Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay showed the Angels why he is mentioned as an elite starter by tossing a complete-game gem. But on Wednesday, it was almost as if Weaver answered the call himself with his own dominating performance.
"I think his game is where it needs to be for him to get the opportunity to put himself into that elite class of starting pitchers," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
Weaver was particularly stingy on Wednesday, helping the Angels (26-25) climb back above the .500 mark. The right-hander allowed just one run on three hits across seven innings.
It was nothing new for the 26-year-old Weaver, who has experienced a great deal of success lately. Over his past six starts, Weaver has posted a 1.64 ERA and surrendered just 28 hits over 44 innings.
Despite his success, though, Weaver (5-2) doesn't want to talk about being included with the league's premier pitchers.
"I don't really think of myself on that level," Weaver said. "Those guys are unbelievable. You just try to strive to be as good as they are and try to do the things that they do."
The Blue Jays certainly think otherwise about where Weaver stands in relation to the American League's finest. Weaver dominated the Toronto (30-25) lineup, collecting his second win against the Jays this season. Weaver also tossed his first career complete game against the Jays back on May 7 in Anaheim.
On Wednesday, Toronto's right-handed hitters were 0-for-19 against Weaver. The starter didn't allow a hit to the Jays through the first four innings, before surrendering a leadoff double to Adam Lind in the fifth frame. Lind scored on a Lyle Overbay double, but that was the only damage Weaver would endure.
"Whatever he's doing out there, let him go do it somewhere else," said Jays manager Cito Gaston. "He's just 5-2. ... The way he's throwing the ball against us, he looks like he should be 10-2."
As for his new career-high in strikeouts, Weaver credits his refined slider. The same pitch has now aided him in collecting 18 strikeouts over his past two starts.
"I just think the slider is a lot sharper," said Weaver. "I've been trying to mess around with a couple different grips over the last few years. Me and [pitching coach Mike Butcher] worked on one in Spring Training and it's come around. I've got a good grasp on where to put it and where to locate it. I think that's been the thing that's working for me.
"You're not really trying to go out there and strike people out. But when they come, they come. It's always nice to get them. It's nice to be able to get double-digits finally."
Though Weaver did not need much run support, the Angels' offense provided plenty. Los Angeles' hitters did not waste time either, striking for three runs in the first inning against Toronto starter Casey Janssen (1-2).
Chone Figgins led off the game with a single -- one of his three hits on the night -- and subsequently scored on Bobby Abreu's two-run home run to center field that put the Angels up, 2-0. Juan Rivera added to the first-inning tally with a sacrifice fly.
"It's always nice to get some runs before you even go out there," Weaver said. "It makes you a little more comfortable."
The Angels padded their lead with Kendry Morales' third-inning RBI single and Figgins' fourth-inning RBI double. The Halos also scored three more runs in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
Seven different Angels starters collected at least one hit in the barrage, with Los Angeles banging out a total of 13. But as good as the offense was on Wednesday, it was still Weaver's show.
"Mr. Weaver has pitched well against us," said Gaston. "The less we see him, the better off we are."
David Singh is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.