Jered Weaver outdueled Trevor Cahill, leading the Angels to a 4-2 victory over the Athletics in the opening game of a doubleheader at Overstock.com Coliseum in Oakland. Erick Aybar had two hits and scored twice for the Angels, who have won 20 of their last 27 games. Bobby Abreu had a pair of run-scoring singles as well, including an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning. It was the 12th win of the season for Weaver.
Aybar led off the game with a single to center field, then he aggressively advanced to third base on a groundout to shortstop by Torii Hunter. singled to score Aybar for a 1-0 lead, but the Angels had opportunities to score more. Abreu was caught stealing second, then Cahill walked the next three batters, but struck out Mark Trumbo to end the threat after just one run.
The Angels tacked on another run in the sixth inning on a single by Vernon Wells, a double by Alberto Callaspo, and an RBI groundout by Howie Kendrick. In the top of the seventh inning, Aybar drove a Cahill pitch onto the steps beyond the right field wall for his seventh home run of the season, and a 3-0 lead for the Angels. Cahill, despite five walks in the first three innings, was able to last seven innings, allowing three runs while striking out eight.
Weaver was sailing along, taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning and allowing just three hits and no runs through the first six innings. However, he was chased in the seventh thanks to four hits by the A's, who plated two runs. After two outs, Scott Downs was summoned to relieve Weaver, and induced a Coco Crisp groundout to shortstop to end the inning and preserve the lead. At 6 2/3 innings, this was Weaver's shortest outing since May 18, 10 starts ago. Over his previous nine starts, Weaver had averaged 7.85 innings per outing, and on the season he has pitched at least six innings in all 20 starts.
The A's came close to three home runs during the game. Kurt Suzuki in two different at-bats hit a ball with home run distance down the left field line, but both were just foul. In the fifth inning, Suzuki did double off the wall in left field with two outs, but the inning ended as David DeJesus was thrown out by about 25 feet at the plate on a perfect relay by Wells and Aybar. Then, in the bottom of the eighth inning, Hideki Matsui doubled off the right field scoreboard, missing a home run by a few feet. The play was reviewed by the umpires but to no avail, but if ruled a home run would have been Matsui's 500th combined home run in MLB and Japan.
All-Star closer Jordan Walden retired Oakland in the ninth inning for his 21st save of the season. The win was just the fifth by the Angels in their last 14 games in Oakland. Angels' relief pitcher Fernando Rodney, on the disabled list since June 13 with an upper back strain, will start tonight for Class A Inland Empire in the first game of a rehab assignment.
The second game is scheduled to begin about 30 minutes after the end of Game 1, and will be televised by Fox Sports West. For more news and information on the Angels, or on today's games, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Halos Heaven.