Baseball / Sports

Angels can't capitalize on Weaver's mound effort

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Chris Archer and his old-school striped socks mystified the Angels, who wasted a solid effort from ace Jered Weaver in a 3-0 loss Friday night at Angel Stadium.

Archer, the Tampa Bay Rays' lanky, hard-throwing right-hander, limited the Angels to just two hits in 52/3 innings, and the Rays' bullpen picked him up from there in the Angels' first shutout of the season.

By this time in 2013, the Angels had been shut out four times.

Weaver (4-3) was sharp from the get-go, but not sharp enough. He retired the first seven Rays, then allowed a harmless single to shortstop Yunel Escobar in the third inning.

After seven more Rays went down in order, Weaver and Escobar matched up again in the fifth, and Escobar smacked a two-strike cutter past the center-field fence for a solo homer.

Weaver allowed another run in the seventh. Still, his seven-inning, two-run effort stretched his streak of allowing two or fewer runs to six starts.

The Angels (22-19) produced only four hits, but they got runners into scoring position in three innings.

Albert Pujols singled and Raul Ibanez walked in the first, only to have Howie Kendrick strike out. In the fifth, John McDonald, Erick Aybar and Mike Trout all walked to load the bases, but Pujols grounded out to third, and Pujols flied out with two runners on in the seventh.

In 22 at-bats with the bases loaded as an Angel, Pujols has just three hits, all singles.

Twice, catcher Hank Conger came to the plate with a runner on first and twice he hit grounders toward right field that ordinarily would be hits. But because of the Rays' aggressive defensive shifting, Tampa Bay second baseman Logan Forsythe fielded both comfortably for outs.

Right-hander Michael Kohn's streak of 17 straight scoreless outings ended in the eighth. Kohn allowed two walks and an RBI single to Evan Longoria and was promptly replaced by rookie reliever Michael Morin, who got out of the inning without further damage.

Kohn had not allowed a run since April 1.

PUJOLS BACK ON DEFENSE

Albert Pujols was back at first base for Friday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, finely fielding balls hit by the first two hitters Jered Weaver faced.

Pujols had served as the Angels' designated hitter for three of the past six games in an attempt to keep the 34-year-old's legs fresh throughout this year.

"Our goal is to keep him in the batter's box every game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Friday. "And not only that, but keep him with that good base and strength in his lower half that's going to let him be the productive hitter he can be."

Plantar fasciitis bothered Pujols throughout 2013, and he played the field less and less until opting for surgery in July.

This year, he was the DH just three times in the first 22 games. But he has played all 41 games and been removed early from only six of them � never because of injury.

Scioscia said the recent four-game road series on Toronto's turf was at least partly responsible for Pujols' string of designated hitting. He is also 4 for 38 of late, which has dropped his average from .302 to .257.

Is Pujols more accepting of the occasional designated hitter day than he used to be?

"Yes," Scioscia said Friday.

Does the manager appreciate that?

"Yes," Scioscia said. "But I don't know any player that's more comfortable DHing than playing the field. So it's not like he's embracing it. But he understands the tool and he understands the impact his bat can have."

FREESE TO REHAB

David Freese is coming back soon.

The Angels third baseman, out since May 2 because of a broken right middle finger, will begin a rehab assignment with the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees on Saturday.

Before the decision was made to send him out, he completed an intense on-field workout, including fielding and throwing, before Friday s game.

Freese will DH on Saturday but could play third base Sunday. After a few days of that, he should be back with the Angels.

"The goal is just to show these guys that I can play the field and throw," Freese said. "I could play right now, but it's just a matter of making every play."

That doesn't mean Freese's finger is completely healed. It's not.

"Obviously with broken bones, it's a tolerance thing," Freese said. "It's not gonna be a completely healed for (a while). If I can play and get on the field, I'm going to do it."

SANTIAGO SITS

Left-hander Hector Santiago has thrown just eight pitches since he was removed from the rotation following his May 7 start.

To maintain readiness, he threw a touch-and-feel bullpen session Friday. Santiago's only relief appearance encompassed two-thirds of an inning May 11 in Toronto.

"I want to get into a game so bad," he said Friday. "Sitting down there, every time the phone rings and I know it's not for me, but I'm still hoping it's mine."

NOTES

In the first game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake, right fielder Kole Calhoun played five innings and went 2 for 3. He doubled in the first inning after a seven pitch at-bat against right-hander Mike Bolsinger, who was in the majors earlier this month. Calhoun also successfully fielded five balls hit to him in right field. ... Rays left-hander David Price and Angels third baseman Luis Jimenez competed in the Angels' annual cow-milking competition on the field. Neither player had previously done any milking, but Jimenez beat Price. ... Scioscia said left-hander Sean Burnett, rehabbing a left elbow injury at Double-A Arkansas, is "getting close" to returning to the majors, although he would not indicate how many more rehab appearances Burnett might need. ... Right-hander Dane De La Rosa played catch after receiving a cortisone shot near his collarbone Wednesday and should throw a bullpen session in the next few days.

(c)2014 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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