ANAHEIM, Calif. – Kendrys Morales hit his first homer in nearly two years and drove in four runs, and Jered Weaver recorded his 1,000th career strikeout while pitching five-hit ball into the seventh inning of the Los Angeles Angels' 6-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.
Morales followed his three-run homer in the first inning with an eighth-inning double to score Albert Pujols, who went 2 for 4 with a double. Pujols still hasn't homered in 10 games with the Angels, but his new cleanup hitter provided plenty of power as Los Angeles opened a weeklong homestand with just its second win in six games.
Morales staked Weaver (2-0) to a healthy lead, and the AL Cy Young runner-up retired his first 11 batters.
Weaver struck out six, rolling his career total into quadruple digits when he fanned Josh Reddick in the sixth inning.
Reddick had two hits and Brandon McCarthy pitched into the eighth inning for the A's, who have lost three straight. McCarthy (0-2) yielded 11 hits and five runs while failing in his fourth attempt to get his first win of the season.
Oakland was shut out for the third time in six games when Jemile Weeks struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth.
Morales' last homer nearly wrecked his career when he jumped on home plate to celebrate a game-ending grand slam on May 29, 2010, severely breaking his ankle and keeping him out of baseball for nearly two full seasons. He returned to the Angels midway through spring training and got off to a strong start before going 1 for 18 on last week's road trip.
Morales' three-run shot landed in nearly the same spot as his fateful grand slam — right in front of the fake rock pile beyond Angel Stadium's center field fence. Morales touched home plate delicately with his left foot before accepting congratulations from Howie Kendrick and Pujols, who singled in front of him.
Pujols has a hit in eight of his first 10 games with the Angels, but they still haven't seen the fabled power they spent $240 million to acquire. Of course, Pujols had just one homer in his first 12 games in St. Louis last spring, and his season turned out splendidly.
The Angels returned shortly before dawn from a 2-4 road trip that left them at 3-6 in their hugely anticipated season. Nobody in the Los Angeles clubhouse is panicking, with manager Mike Scioscia attributing the slow start to surprisingly ineffective work from the Angels' rotation, which had just three quality starts.
Weaver often is the antidote to such problems, and he didn't allow a baserunner until Reddick's two-out single in the fourth.
After Morales' RBI double, Chris Iannetta drew a bases-loaded walk from Andrew Carignan, who then allowed another run with a wild pitch.
Los Angeles' bullpen struggled mightily on the road, but three relievers capably finished up the shutout even after the Angels infield made back-to-back, two-out errors in the ninth.
NOTES: Oakland CF Yoenis Cespedes got his first day off of the season. ... Weaver is the eighth Angels pitcher with 1,000 strikeouts. He and his older brother, Jeff became the sixth set of brothers in the big leagues with 1,000 strikeouts apiece. ... Angels LHP Scott Downs pitched the eighth inning in his first appearance since Denard Span stepped on his right ankle last week, forcing him out of a game at Minnesota.