|Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver throws to the plate during the second inning of their baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Wednesday, May 2, 2012, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)|
Weaver hurls no-hitter, Angels embarrass Twins 9-0
ANAHEIM, Calif.—Manager Ron Gardenhire was so furious about everything his Minnesota Twins did Wednesday night that their failure to get a hit against Jered Weaver was almost an afterthought at the lowest point of a rough season.
Weaver pitched the fifth no-hitter ever thrown against the Twins and the second in the majors in less than two weeks, propelling the Los Angeles Angels to a 9-0 victory in Minnesota's ninth loss in 10 games.
Weaver's utter dominance of the Twins' inexperienced lineup didn't anger Gardenhire nearly as much as the multitude of mistakes Minnesota made in other areas, particularly Liam Hendriks' miserable start on the mound. The veteran manager's face was still rosy red 20 minutes after Alexi Casilla's final fly settled into Torii Hunter's glove on the right-field warning track.
"All the little things a baseball team is supposed to do, we didn't do," Gardenhire said. "They're running all over us out there. We looked like a bunch of Little Leaguers out there."
"OK, that's enough," Gardenhire said after one question from the media. "I'm done. Congratulations to Mr. Weaver."
Hendriks (0-2) allowed nine hits and six runs while failing to get out of the third inning for the Twins, who dropped to a majors-worst 6-18. After Jerome Williams' shutout against Minnesota on Tuesday, the Twins haven't scored in 19 innings and haven't had a hit in the last 15.
Only one Minnesota batter reached base in the first seven innings, and that was only when catcher Chris Iannetta committed a passed ball on strike three to Chris Parmelee with two outs in the second. Josh Willingham drew the only walk Weaver allowed, passing on a full-count pitch with two outs in the seventh.
Weaver struck out nine and walked one. The Twins never even tested his defense, never really coming close to getting a hit against the All-Star right-hander. The closest might have been Trevor Plouffe's liner hooked foul about 15 feet before the left-field foul pole in the eighth inning.
"He dominated us, there's no question about it," said Denard Span, who struck out looking for the second out in the ninth. "He was doing everything. He kept us off-balance, changed speeds and finished strong. He's definitely a different pitcher at home when the ball is coming out of the rocks," referring to the fake rock pile beyond the center-field fence at Angel Stadium.
The Twins were held hitless for the first time since 1998, when David Wells of the New York Yankees pitched a perfect game against them. Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue and Nolan Ryan also threw no-hitters against Minnesota.
Weaver was nearly as impressive as Phil Humber of the Chicago White Sox, who threw a perfect game at Seattle on April 21.
"It was an easy ride," Weaver said. "Guys were picking me up left and right. We scored some runs early and took a little pressure off me. I was able to throw some strikes, and Iannetta was throwing down the right fingers. Gotta love that."
Weaver (4-0) is a lanky, blond California native who played at Long Beach State and passed on free agency last summer to sign a new five-year deal to stay with the Angels. After mowing down the Twins all night, he began the ninth inning by quickly retiring Jamey Carroll on a routine fly and striking out Span looking.
Although Weaver refused to look when Plouffe's liner went foul, figuring the crowd's reaction would tell him if his no-hitter was gone, the Angels' ace watched Hunter make the final catch. Weaver put his hands to his head in excitement as the Angels rushed out to mob him, led by high-stepping pitching coach Mike Butcher.
"Spiderman out there. I knew he had a bead on it," Weaver said of Hunter. "Casilla put a charge in it and Spiderman tracked it down."
Weaver hugged his wife and his parents, who joined him in a crying session on the field. Weaver's father, Dave, who coached both Jered and his brother Jeff in Little League and youth ball, attends every home start in a seat behind home plate.
"I was locked in for the most part," he said. "My mom, dad, wife, this was awesome. This is why I stayed here, for you guys. This is awesome."
Weaver will soon get a chance to do it again against the Twins -- his next start is scheduled for Monday at Minnesota.
This was the second Angels no-hitter in less than a year -- Ervin Santana pitched one July 27 at Cleveland -- and the 10th for the Angels franchise, including four by Ryan.
Weaver threw 121 pitches, and the cheers from the crowd of 27,288 kept growing louder.
"Fastball command was good. Able to fill up the zone get some early strikes," Weaver said.
"This is so surreal," he said. "I can't even believe this."
The no-hitter was the highlight for a 29-year-old pitcher who has already compiled quite a resume. Weaver finished second in the AL Cy Young voting last year after going 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA. He and winner Justin Verlander were the only pitchers listed on every ballot.
Kendrys Morales and Howie Kendrick homered to back Weaver, not that he needed much support. Los Angeles got its season back on track with a three-game sweep of the Twins, improving to 10-15.
It was the first time the Angels had back-to-back complete game wins since 1993 when Chuck Finley and Mark Langston did it.
NOTES: Kendrick hit his fourth homer of the season and drove in three runs. ... Albert Pujols went 1 for 5, failing to homer again.