ANAHEIM (AP) – When Kendrys Morales and Jered Weaver hit career milestones on the same night, Weaver celebrated by writing “1000” on a baseball and holding it up for a few silly photos.
Morales celebrated by stepping gracefully on Angel Stadium’s home plate with his healed left ankle.READ MORE: As California's Eviction Ban Ends, Some Protections Remain
Morales hit his first homer in nearly two years and drove in four runs, and 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’ three-run homer in the first inning landed in nearly the same spot as his fateful game-ending grand slam on May 29, 2010 – right in front of the fake rock pile beyond the Big A’s center field fence. That homer nearly wrecked his career when he jumped on home plate to celebrate it, severely breaking his ankle and keeping him out of baseball for nearly two full seasons.
“It had been a long time,” the Cuban slugger said through a translator. “I never lost faith. I knew I could do it. I just need to keep working and do it better.”
Morales touched home plate with his left foot before accepting congratulations from Howie Kendrick and Albert Pujols, who singled in front of him. Morales finally 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 – a slump erased by his three-hit performance against Oakland.
“I was happy he got around the bases in one piece,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
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.
Weaver acknowledged the milestone grudgingly, saying he’s “got a little bit more to go to catch the great ones.” Still, he was grateful to do it in the presence of his father, who attends every home start – and yells loudly enough for Jered to hear him on the mound.
“I’ve got them all in an Angel uniform, which is pretty great,” Weaver said. “”Any time you can stop a little bad run and mix in a win, it’s good.”READ MORE: 2 Juveniles Detained After Mother, Son Found Critically Injured In Elverta
Morales added an eighth-inning double to score 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.
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. The A’s never climbed out of the hole he created with wayward pitches to Pujols and Morales in the first inning.
“It was pretty indicative of the whole night,” McCarthy said. “Every time I really wanted to throw something somewhere, I didn’t throw it. I got away with a few of them, but not that one (to Morales). Just not enough quality pitches.”
Oakland was shut out for the third time in six games when Jemile Weeks struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth. The A’s have managed just 14 runs in their seven losses – half of those in an 8-7 loss to Seattle.
“We had some decent at-bats, better as we went along, and then the frustration mounts when you hit the ball right at people,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ll keep going through it.”
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.
After their fast start, they added three more runs in the eighth. After Morales’ RBI double, Chris Iannetta drew a bases-loaded walk from Andrew Carignan, who then allowed another run with a wild pitch.MORE NEWS: Fair Oaks Woman Killed In Carmichael Car Crash
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.