Published July 31, 2011
Weaver was ejected in the seventh inning of Detroit's 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, when Verlander came within four outs of his third career no-hitter.
Maicer Izturis lined an RBI single to left field with two outs in the eighth for the Angels' only hit. Verlander (15-5) has taken three no-hit bids into the eighth inning this season, completing one in Toronto.
Weaver was ejected for throwing a pitch over Alex Avila's head in the seventh, right after Carlos Guillen showboated on a solo home run — infuriating the right-hander.
"I had a lot of respect for those guys, but then they stand at the plate and do something like that," Weaver said. "I'm not going to try to hit someone, but what Guillen did crossed the line."
Guillen flipped his bat, posed at the plate and skipped a few steps sideways, prompting Weaver to yell at him before Guillen rounded the bases.
Guillen said he was responding to Weaver yelling at Magglio Ordonez after a third-inning homer.
"Magglio has 14 years in the major leagues," said Guillen, one of Ordonez's closest friends. "You don't tell him to run. I respect people when they respect us. If you don't respect us, you don't get it."
Ordonez said he was just watching to see if the ball stayed fair, but Weaver felt the slugger was trying to show him up.
"I didn't see where the ball went, but you can watch the replay and see what he did," Weaver said. "I felt disrespected by that."
Sensing trouble was coming after Guillen's homer, plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt warned both benches. But Weaver threw the next pitch near Avila's head and was quickly ejected along with Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia.
Knowing he would be tossed, Weaver started walking off the field immediately, gesturing angrily and cursing in the direction of Detroit's bench.
There was more, too. Erick Aybar tried to bunt for a hit leading off the eighth against Verlander, often considered a violation of baseball etiquette when a pitcher has a no-hitter going in the late innings.
Scioscia and Tigers manager Jim Leyland defended the play because the score was close. Verlander wasn't happy, though.
"I know it was only 3-0, so I can understand there are arguments on both sides, but as a pitcher, we call that bush league," he said. "I think he was trying to get his team back into the game, but I also think it was a response to things that had happened before."
Aybar said he was just trying to help his team.
"That's my game — I don't have power," he said. "(Verlander) told me he'd get me next year, and I said that was OK."
Aybar reached second when Verlander threw the ball away for an error, and the pitcher stared at him as he stood on the bag.
Aybar scored from third when the Tigers botched a rundown. Izturis' single made it 3-2, but Verlander threw a 101 mph fastball to strike out Torii Hunter and end the inning.
Verlander was attempting to become the fourth pitcher since 1900 to throw three career no-hitters, joining Bob Feller (three), Sandy Koufax (four) and Nolan Ryan (seven). The right-hander pitched a no-hitter at Toronto in May and has lost two more bids in the eighth inning this year.
In a marquee matchup of All-Star aces, Verlander allowed two unearned runs and two walks in eight innings, striking out nine.
"This is the best performance I've seen him put on," Hunter said. "He was throwing fastballs in and out, and a lot of off-speed pitches."
Jose Valverde worked the ninth for his 28th save in 28 tries.
Weaver (14-5) gave up three runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings, but it was Hunter who had the last word on a crazy afternoon.
"That was stupid — it was all stupid. Everybody was stupid," he said. "That was unprofessional on both sides."
NOTES: The giveaway for kids in attendance was a poster commemorating, of all things, Verlander's no-hitter against Toronto in May. ... For several moments in the eighth inning, the Comerica Park scoreboard listed the Angels as leading 8-3 despite not having a hit. ... Despite the tension between the teams, Valverde did his normal dance after recording the final out. ... Before Izturis' single, the closest the Angels came to a hit was Alberto Callaspo's hard grounder in the second inning. Guillen made a backhand stop at second.