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Weaver enjoys spectacular debut05/28/2006 2:28 AM ET
By Sandy Burgin
ANAHEIM -- Jered Weaver, like his brother Jeff did seven years earlier, won his Major League debut Saturday night as the Angels beat the Baltimore Orioles, 10-1 before 43,005 fans, including more than 40 Weaver family and friends, at Angel Stadium.
Weaver, 23, the 12th overall pick in the 2004 draft, allowed just three hits, walked one and struck out five in seven innings as the Angels won their season-high fourth straight.
The lanky right-hander, who threw 64 of 97 pitches for strikes, left to a standing ovation after the seventh, getting congratulations from his brother, his teammates and manager Mike Scioscia.
Kendy Morales and Tim Salmon, each of whom had three hits, homered -- Morales a three-run shot in the seventh and Salmon a two-run blast off Orioles starter Erik Bedard (5-4) in the fourth. Angels rookie Tom Murphy put the capper on the night with his first Major League home run in the eighth.
"For a youngster to come up and pitch that kind of game is big in a number of aspects," said Scioscia. "We've been looking at Jered for a little while. He jumped on our depth charts in Spring Training and I think it's great to see products of our Minor League system come up and do well up here. It's not just Jered, it's other guys, too, and we need that depth."
There was decided comfort level with Weaver and catcher Mike Napoli, both of whom worked together in the Minors, most recently at Triple-A Salt Lake, where Weaver was 4-1 with one shutout and a 1.89 ERA in nine appearances, eight of them starts.
"It was kind of familiar territory," said Weaver. "He called a great game, I have to give it up to him. It's not just me and we just executed and everything worked out."
Weaver acknowledged that there were butterflies early on, but that they went away in the second inning "after Vlad (Guererro) made that great play."
In was in the second, after a perfect 1-2-3 first, that Weaver gave up a single to Javy Lopez, followed by a double to Ramon Hernandez. However, Guerrero bailed Weaver out, catching Jeff Conine's fly ball in right and completing a double play by throwing a perfect strike to Napoli, who tagged out Lopez trying to score from third.
Weaver struck out Corey Patterson to end the second, fanned the first two batters in the third and was on his way.
"I kind of settled in after that throw by Vlad," said Weaver. "This is a dream-come-true kind of thing. I've been waiting for this for 23 years ever since I was a little kid. And to have it come out on the right foot is definitely a confidence booster."
Weaver said he did get some advice at times from brother Jeff, who won his Major League debut back on April 14, 1999, when he beat Minnesota, 7-1, for the Detroit Tigers, pitching into the sixth inning and allowing just one hit.
"Having my brother here helped me settle in," the rookie said. "He gave me some advice at the beginning of the game. ...
"There were things he threw out there, like not leaving my slider up in those kinds of situations where they know it's coming. I took that toward the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. I was expanding the plate with my slider more and it helped out."
After giving up the back-to-back hits in the second, Weaver didn't give up another hit until Melvin Mora's bloop single in the sixth and retired 17 of the last 20 batters he faced.
Weaver said he would have liked to have been out on the mound for his first victory but understood his pitch count was up there.
"I think I could have gone longer," he said. "I was so amped up, I didn't even know what my pitch count was at the end.
"My mom and dad will be getting the ball. We have a big trophy case back home with a bunch of balls with what Jeff has accomplished and hopefully that will be one of many in the collection."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.