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LAA@MIL: Aoki leaps to make stellar grab in fourth

MILWAUKEE -- When a pitcher of Jered Weaver's caliber is on the mound, the early scoring chances may be the only scoring chances.

The Brewers found that out the hard way in Friday night's series opener against the Angels at Miller Park.

"When you have a chance and you don't get to him, you're going to be in trouble," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. The Brewers were in all sorts of trouble after letting a golden fourth-inning opportunity slip away, and the Angels made good on their big inning with a four-spot in the seventh to roll to a 5-0 win in the three-game Interleague series opener in front of 32,340 at Miller Park.

It was the second shutout in as many days for the Angels, with Weaver's six-inning gem coming on the heels of Jason Vargas' seven shutout innings in a 2-0 win over the Rays on Thursday. The Angels have pitched 22 consecutive scoreless innings. Friday was the sixth time the Brewers have been shut out this season, and first since Aug. 11.

Roenicke noted that his lineup is bound to be inconsistent at times, missing Ryan Braun to suspension and Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks to injury.

"When you don't have big boys in there that you need to have, you're going to be inconsistent," he said. "We have been."

The Brewers' lack of runs was not for a lack of chances. Milwaukee left the bases loaded twice and finished 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, while stranding 13 runners on base.

The ultimate wasted opportunity came when Martin Maldonado went all in and came up empty-handed in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and a 3-0 count, Maldonado -- who was drafted by the Angels in 2004 -- swung at a Weaver fastball over the plate and popped it straight up into the air.

Brewers' fans let Maldonado know their displeasure before the ball even settled into first baseman Mark Trumbo's glove just in front of home plate. Starter Wily Peralta flied out to center field to end the threat.

With the pitcher on deck, Maldonado said that given the opportunity again, he would not change his approach.

"If you look at his scouting report, it's like everything 2-0 is 100 percent fastball," Maldonado said. "I just missed it -- fastball over the plate. I got a pitcher behind me. That's a pitch I should drive better than what I did."

Roenicke had given the green light to Maldonado, a .171 hitter on the year, and defended the at-bat postgame.

"It's probably going to be a good time where we get a chance to drive a ball well," Roenicke said. "I think any time you have an eighth hitter that's got the pitcher behind him, if he's got a chance to drive the ball and do some damage, you need to let it.

"Got a pitch right down the middle, he just missed it."

The Brewers wasted another golden opportunity in the sixth inning when Carlos Gomez walked with one out and Khris Davis tapped a grounder back to Weaver. Weaver looked to have a chance at a double play, but the ball bounced over his glove, putting runners on first and second. But Scooter Gennett popped out and Weaver struck out Maldonado to end the threat.

The Brewers also left runners on first and third base with one out in the third inning, and Gomez lined out with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh.

"I was able to get out of some sticky situations," said Weaver, who improved to 9-7 and lowered his ERA to 3.30. "I got in some trouble, was able to make some mistakes, stuck with [catcher Hank Conger] and the game plan, and luckily some things went our way there to get some outs and get out of that stuff. I had to battle today, and the defense played well behind me and Hank called a good game. So, it was a good combination."

While Weaver escaped some tough situations, Peralta wished he had a couple pitches back to keep him from taking his fifth loss in his last seven starts.

Kole Calhoun accounted for the only scoring of the first six innings with his fourth-inning solo home run to the upper deck in right-center field off Peralta. The left-hander turned on the first pitch he saw -- a fastball -- for his fifth home run of the season.

Peralta kept the score at 1-0 until he departed with two on and nobody out in the seventh inning. Reliever Rob Wooten could not escape, though, as a three-run double from Grant Green and an RBI single from J.B. Shuck opened the flood gates for a 5-0 Angels lead.

That inning closed the line on Peralta, who allowed four hits and three earned runs. The right-hander walked two, struck out six and threw 90 pitches, 59 for strikes.

Friday marked the 11th time since May 12 that Peralta did not receive a single run of support. That mark leads Major League Baseball, and with Friday's loss, Peralta is tied for second most in the league with 14.

"When you face those pitchers, you can't make mistakes," Peralta said. The 24-year-old right-hander said he felt like he could have stayed in the seventh inning, but the decision was ultimately up to Roenicke.

"I still felt very strong," Peralta said. "It's the manager's decision, so I have to take it. He saw something and made the decision and I respect it."

Weaver tossed six scoreless innings with three hits, three walks and three strikeouts. He threw 104 pitches, 64 for strikes.

The Angels swept Milwaukee in their only other visit to play the Brewers at Miller Park in 2002. The Angels did, however, return to Miller Park in '07 to face the Indians as a result of snow in Cleveland. They charged $10 for tickets and drew a surprisingly large crowd of 19,031.

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