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BAL@LAA: Weaver goes the distance in the Angels' win

ANAHEIM -- Hiding can be tough when you're 6-foot-7 with long, blonde hair.

But as he entered the home dugout in the middle of Saturday night's eighth inning, with 98 pitches under his belt and a three-run lead on the scoreboard, Angels ace Jered Weaver tried his best. The last thing he wanted to do was make eye contact with manager Mike Scioscia or pitching coach Mike Butcher.

"I kept my head down and just went back to my seat," Weaver said. "I didn't want to look at Sosh or Butch. I just wanted to go back out there."

Weaver did. And despite giving up a two-out single, the lanky right-hander finished what he started, using a complete game to lead his club to a 6-3 win over the Orioles at Angel Stadium. With that, the Angels (6-9) notched their first series victory and won their first set of back-to-back games.

It took 15 games.

"I'm surprised, trust me," said outfielder Torii Hunter, whose team had previously lost series to the Royals, Twins, Yankees and Athletics. "But I do understand baseball. It's a feel. It has to come to you, you can't go get it. And I can feel it coming. We're having great at-bats, we're battling. It's coming up."

Saturday's decisive bottom of the fifth, when the Angels sent a season-high 11 batters to the plate and matched a season-high with five runs in the frame, sure did make you feel that way.

It was the kind of crooked-number inning you'd think this team is capable of producing more often than it has.

"Our offense, when we hit stride, has the potential to do a lot of things, and I think we will be able to bunch some innings together," said Scioscia, whose club had batted around in an inning only two other times. "We haven't hit stride yet offensively, I don't think our power has shown up yet the way it will, but tonight, we had good situational hitting, drew some walks, ran the bases well and managed to support a well-pitched game by Weaver."

Weaver gave up three runs on five hits while walking none and striking out five in his first complete game since July 7 of last season, moving him to 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA through his first four starts.

He's known for his changeup, but that didn't come until later. Through four perfect innings to start the game, Weaver threw only one offspeed pitch, relying mostly on a steady diet of four-seam fastballs and cutters.

"He looked good early, and it can be a little tough to see here early, especially with those rocks and him throwing out of those rocks," Orioles catcher Matt Wieters said. "But he is good. He knows how to pitch. He locates and uses all of his offspeed stuff."

Wieters touched him for a two-run homer in the fifth, but after being spotted the three-run lead in the bottom half, Weaver went to work, limiting the Orioles to just one run the rest of the way and finishing it off by getting Adam Jones -- his last batter regardless -- to pop out to Albert Pujols on his 114th pitch.

"It's always fun getting out there in the ninth inning and listening to your hometown fans cheer you on while you're running out there," Weaver said. "It was nice to give the bullpen a little rest and extend the game a little bit. And the offense did the rest."

Down 2-0 entering the bottom of the fifth against Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta -- who came in with a 2.66 ERA in 20 1/3 innings -- the Angels' offense finally came to life, spraying five hits, walking three times and getting RBI singles by Mark Trumbo, Erick Aybar, Kendrys Morales and Bobby Abreu, whose bases-loaded line drive up the middle plated two.

They have now scored 12 runs on 21 hits in their first two games against the Orioles.

It's still not perfect. The Angels went 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position on Saturday -- making them 11-for-43 in that situation over the last three games -- and failed to score despite having runners on second and third with none out in the eighth.

But a big inning like Saturday's fifth, and an all-around scrappy effort like Friday's, may be a sign that things are starting to turn around for them.

"I feel the energy is changing," Hunter said. "Guys are having better at-bats at the plate. So, I can see the positive right now."

Winning tends to lead to that sort of perspective. Comments