ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles were well aware of just how little room for error there is when facing Jered Weaver. Jason Hammel would have needed a scoreless outing just to get a no-decision.
Hammel pitched much better that he did on June 26 in his previous matchup with Weaver at Baltimore. But the Los Angeles Angels’ ace gave the Orioles just as much trouble on Saturday night as he did at Camden Yards, limiting them to just three hits over eight innings in a 3-0 victory.
“Jason was great. He’s given a chance to win just about every time out, and you couldn’t ask for more. But the other guy was just a little bit better,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Weaver was really good. You know what he’s going to do, and he’s been able to do it for a long time, but we didn’t make many adjustments. But we’re not the only ones he’s picking on.”
Hammel (8-5) gave up three runs, six hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings. The last time he and Weaver hooked up, the Orioles’ right-hander surrendered eight runs in 3 1/3 innings that night in a 13-1 loss after bringing a 19-inning scoreless streak into the game.
“I made a lot of adjustments from that game. I pitched inside a lot more and it was very effective against a team that makes contact as much as they do,” Hammel said. “They were diving out and getting balls on the outer half the last time, so anything that I was able to change from that outing to this one was definitely good.”
Weaver improved to 14-2 at home since the start of last season. A good example of how Angel Stadium plays for Weaver was demonstrated by Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters, who flied out to the warning track in the fourth and seventh innings that Weaver acknowledged were mistakes.
“They’ve got a lot of guys in their lineup that can hurt you,” Weaver said. “Obviously, I got away with some pitches that they hit to the warning track, and that misty air kind of knocked them down.”
Angels Gold Glove right fielder Torii Hunter helped choke off an Orioles threat in the seventh when he played the carom perfectly off the 18-foot wall on a single by slugger Jim Thome and threw out the 41-year-old designated hitter at second base with the Angels still leading 1-0.
“He pushed the envelope there,” Showalter said. “Torii is a good thrower and Jimmy understands the situation.”
Mark Trumbo led off the Angels’ fourth with a single and legged it to second after left fielder Xavier Avery misplayed the ball for the Orioles’ major league-worst 75th error. Trumbo got to third after tagging up on Alberto Callaspo’s flyout to the warning track in center, and Howie Kendrick singled sharply to the right of second base with the infield playing in.
“We gave them a run, and there wasn’t going to be much margin for error with Weaver out there,” Showalter said.
The Halos tacked on two more runs in the bottom half with a two-out RBI double by Hunter and an RBI single by Kendrys Morales. But it was the speed of rookie Mike Trout that kept the inning going for Hunter, as the 20-year-old rookie beat the relay to first base on a potential inning-ending double-play grounder to second baseman Robert Andino.
“He’s a catalyst for that team, and we’ve seen it since he’s come up. They’ve been a completely different team,” Hammel said. “I made a good pitch there and he hit it into the ground, but with his speed he was able to keep the inning alive.”
Weaver (10-1) won his fourth straight outing since coming off the disabled list, striking out five and walking one while lowering his ERA to 1.96.
The three-time All-Star joined Sandy Koufax (1963-64) as the only pitchers since 1950 with consecutive seasons of double-digit wins and an ERA under 2.00 before the All-Star break. During his seven-year career, the Angels’ ace is 59-26 with a 2.84 ERA in 110 starts before the All-Star break. Last season he was 11-4 with a 1.86 ERA in 19 starts before the break.
“I had less losses in the first half this year than last year, which is pretty good because it means that I’ve been able to keep the team in the game and give us a chance to win,” Weaver said. “And our offense has been spectacular the last two months, so there’s been a lot of help on the team’s end to get me to where I’m at.”
Scott Downs pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save in eight attempts.
NOTES: Orioles 1B Joe Mahoney was 0 for 3 in his major league debut, two days after his contract was purchased from Norfolk. He was a sixth-round draft pick in 2007 out of the University of Richmond. … Baltimore recalled OF/INF Steve Tolleson from Triple-A Norfolk to fill the roster spot left vacated when RHP Jake Arrieta was optioned to the Orioles’ top farm club on Saturday. Arrieta gave up six runs over 3 2/3 innings in Thursday’s series opener without getting a decision in the team’s 9-7 loss, and is 1-7 with a 7.71 ERA in 12 starts since his previous win on May 2. … Orioles RF Chris Davis returned to the lineup after missing two games with a strained trapezius muscle.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)