There have been numerous times in Jered Weaver's career when he felt he had to pitch a shutout to win a game. For the second time this season, he threw nine scoreless innings without getting a decision.
Vernon Wells singled home the winning run in the 10th, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 1-0 on Friday night in Weaver's first start since he was ejected for intentionally throwing at a batter.
The two-time All-Star pitched nine scoreless innings in a no-decision on May 28 against Minnesota, a 1-0 loss in 10.
"I'm just going to go out there and try to keep runs off the board," Weaver said after his sixth scoreless outing of the season. "Obviously, when you're getting to the sixth, seventh, eighth inning and the guys aren't putting any runs up, you've got to try to keep them off the board. Our defense helped out a lot and made some good plays for me."
Seattle starter Jason Vargas escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth by striking out Jeff Mathis. It was up to Mathis again to break the scoreless tie with two outs and runners at second and third in the sixth, but he fanned again. Mathis was 0 for 3, dropping his average to .181 and his average with runners in scoring position to .173.
"Obviously, he's not swinging the bat real well right now, but from a team standpoint, his catching overshadows what he does at the plate. It always does," Weaver said. "He's nails back there. The fans don't see it that way, but he's too good to keep him out of the lineup. And he's too strong to let what he's not doing at the plate affect him."
Weaver was hit with a six-game suspension last Tuesday, two days after he threw a pitch over the head of Detroit's Alex Avila in anger during the seventh inning of a 3-0 loss.
He defied a warning plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt gave to both dugouts in that game, after Weaver complained to Wendelstedt about Carlos Guillen's showboating on a home run he hit on the previous pitch.
The Angels' ace appealed the suspension and thus was eligible to face the Mariners — a team he came in 7-0 against with a 2.01 ERA in 10 starts at Anaheim. Weaver is scheduled for a hearing next week when the Angels are in New York to play the Yankees, and the Angels will need someone to start in his place next Wednesday.
"I wasn't even thinking about the suspension, to tell the truth," Weaver said. "I'm going to go out and pitch just like I always do, regardless of the circumstances. It didn't even cross my mind. But I'm going to keep the appeal to have my voice heard a little bit and for them to hear my side of the story. We'll see what happens in New York."
Weaver scattered seven hits, struck out eight and lowered his major league-leading ERA to 1.78. Last year's major league strikeout leader remained 8-1 with a 1.35 ERA over his last 14 outings overall, with two of the wins coming against Seattle — including a five-hit shutout on June 14. Weaver has allowed only one run over his last 30 innings against the Mariners.
"You have to make him get the ball up a little more in the zone," Seattle designated hitter Casper Wells said. "He's typically a fastball guy, and that's the way I thought he'd be pitching. But he threw a lot of sliders, and his slider is pretty deceptive with the way he throws. He just seems like he has the confidence when guys get into scoring position to make guys chase. You have to make him come into your zone."
Torii Hunter led off the 10th with a single against rookie Dan Cortes (0-2), advanced on a wild pitch and came home when Wells lined a 2-2 pitch to left-center. The victory ended Seattle's three-game winning streak and sent the Mariners to their 17th loss in their last 19 games at Angel Stadium.
Angels closer Jordan Walden (3-3) pitched a perfect inning for the win.
Vargas scattered seven hits over six innings and struck out three, the fourth time in five starts the Mariners didn't score while he was in the game. The left-hander is 0-5 over his last six starts with a 5.57 ERA since beating San Diego 6-0 with his third shutout of the season.
Seattle outfielder Trayvon Robinson made an auspicious major league debut, robbing Hunter of a two-run homer with a leaping grab above the short fence in the left field corner to end the third inning.
"He hit it pretty good, but there's a low fence there so I just wanted to get over there and make an attempt," Robinson said. "After I did it, I put my hand up to let everybody know I caught the ball. Then I immediately turned to Torii and I was like, 'Oh, God, I've got to walk past him and he's going to kill me.' It was quite a sight."
Robinson was traded from the Dodgers to Boston on July 31 and then shipped to Seattle the same day in exchange for left-hander Erik Bedard. He became the ninth Mariners player to make his major league debut this season after getting called up from Triple-A Tacoma. Robinson singled in the sixth inning for his first big league hit.
"He looked totally comfortable out there, and the whole time it looked like it was no big thing for him," Wells said. "I remember how I felt in my debut, when I threw out Dustin Pedroia at the plate from left field by a good 10 feet, but it wasn't nearly as spectacular a play as Trey made. That was one of the best catches I've ever seen. It was unbelievable."
Wells, in his fifth game with Seattle after getting traded from Detroit on July 30, made the baserunning blunder of the game to kill a rally in the eighth. First baseman Mark Trumbo fielded Robinson's grounder with two on and got the force at second on Franklin Gutierrez. Shortstop Erick Aybar knew he had no chance to double up Robinson and instead threw to third baseman Alberto Callaspo for the tag on Wells after he rounded the bag too far.
"I was just being aggressive. I didn't have any intention of going home, but I wanted my momentum going that way in case something happened where Datzy (third base coach Jeff Datz) had to send me," Wells said. "I mean, he had the hold-up sign for me, but it didn't necessarily mean for me that I had to stop on the bag. Before you knew it, the ball was there. This won't happen again."
Notes: All of Weaver's strikeouts were in the first four innings. ... Aybar was 0 for 3 against Vargas, and has no RBIs in 27 career at-bats against him.
(This version CORRECTS Angels 1, Mariners 0, 10 innings. Corrects to a 1-0 loss in 3rd paragraph.)