05/03/12 4:04 AM ET
Surprised? Mates knew this day was coming
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
He had been too good for too long (compiling 82 wins and a 3.31 ERA in his previous six seasons), had come too close too often (especially when he threw six of eight no-hit innings against the Dodgers in a 1-0 loss in 2008).
So when he finally got his first no-hitter against the Twins on Tuesday night, Weaver's teammates were ecstatic -- but in no way surprised.
"He has great stuff," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after his club's Weaver-fueled 9-0 win. "Any pitcher of that caliber that has the stuff that Weav does and pitches at a high level, you always have a chance to [throw a no-hitter]. It's not easy, but he got it done tonight."
Weaver's was the ninth individual no-hitter in Angels history (10th overall), the second in the Majors this season (joining the April 21 perfect game of the White Sox' Phil Humber), the second on the Angels' current staff (Ervin Santana threw his last year, July 27 in Cleveland) and the 11th in the Majors since the start of the 2010 season.
"This is the best pitching performance I've ever seen," said rotation mate C.J. Wilson, who less than a week ago jokingly told Weaver he needed to get his first no-hitter already.
"He's been close, man, several times," right fielder Torii Hunter added. "With the stuff that he has, if anybody would do it, he's definitely going to be the one to do it."
Weaver has now hurled 17 consecutive scoreless innings and, after Wednesday, is 4-0 with a 1.61 ERA this season -- after finishing second in American League Cy Young Award voting last year.
What was working so well for him on this night?
"Almost everything, to be honest with you," said catcher Chris Iannetta, whose strikeout-passed ball in the second was the only baserunner Weaver allowed until a two-out, seventh-inning walk.
"If you see his pitches, they're either just off the plate or right there on the corner," longtime teammate Howie Kendrick added. "That's what makes him so special. He's very deceptive with that delivery, kind of throws from across his body, and tonight, he was hitting those spots, getting guys looking on that front-door two-seamer, changeup was good, he was throwing his curveball for a strike, and I think those are things you need to do to win games and throw no-hitters."
Against a Twins starting lineup that had five hitters batting under .260, and was shut out on three hits by Jerome Williams the night before, Weaver struck out nine, walked one and started out ahead on 16 of the hitters he faced.
"He never lost that focus," first baseman Albert Pujols noted. "No matter how many runs we put on the board, it seemed like he was just going out there and making good pitches."
Twelve of Weaver's outs were lazy flyouts, five of his outs were weak grounders and only three were close calls -- if you even want to call it that.
There was a fifth-inning Trevor Plouffe line drive on which Hunter made a running grab.
There was a long, eighth-inning Plouffe ball that sailed a few feet wide of the left-field foul pole.
And there was the last out of the game, when Alexi Casilla drove a high first-pitch fastball to deep right field, before Hunter ranged back and made the catch close to the warning track.
"It's phenomenal, man, I'm so happy to be a part of this," Kendrick said. "I've been playing with Weaver since he signed with the organization, and to be able to see him progress as a player and as a pitcher and become our ace guy, and be a bulldog on the mound, that's what we need day in and day out. Hopefully that leads up to some more no-hitters."
That probably wouldn't surprise anyone, either.
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.