ANAHEIM, Calif. — If Jered Weaver is in his final week with the Los Angeles Angels, the veteran right-hander will try to finish his 11 seasons the right way.
And if he returns to his only big-league team next year, Weaver has a strong finish to build upon.
Weaver pitched five scoreless innings of one-hit ball before leaving with lower-back tightness, and the Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 2-1 on Monday night when Yunel Escobar scored on Albert Pujols’ weak grounder in the eighth.
Weaver retired Oakland’s first 14 batters before Danny Valencia’s fifth-inning single, using his deception and control to flummox the A’s in what could be his penultimate start at the Big A. The stalwart of the Angels’ rotation since 2006 doesn’t yet have a contract for next season, but he has strung together a series of solid starts down the stretch.
“It’s a little weird,” Weaver said. “It’s different, something I’ve never gone through or dealt with before, not knowing what the future holds. It was a little emotional coming down the tunnel here.”
Weaver was removed after just 71 pitches when his back tightened up on a 90-degree night in Anaheim, but he doesn’t think the injury will stop him from pitching Sunday in the Angels’ season finale.
After the game, Weaver said he plans to reflect on his past and future this week. He didn’t specify whether he is contemplating retirement if the Angels don’t want him back.
“My body is feeling a lot better, minus the little setback today,” Weaver said. “It’s a decision that I’ll have to make in the next couple months, at least. It’ll be interesting to sit down with the wife and talk about it and see what’s going to happen.”
Mike Trout hit his 29th homer early in the Angels’ fifth victory in six games.
Stephen Vogt homered in the sixth inning for the last-place A’s, who have lost six of seven.
After Sean Manaea largely shut down Los Angeles for seven innings, the Angels broke through against Ryan Dull (5-5). Escobar singled, advanced on Kole Calhoun’s double and scored when Pujols got his 119th RBI on a 45-foot grounder back to Dull, who bobbled it just enough to stop him from throwing home.
J.C. Ramirez (2-1) pitched the eighth and former A’s closer Andrew Bailey earned his sixth save for the Angels (70-87), who opened their final homestand of the season needing to go 6-0 to match their worst record since 1999. Los Angeles has missed the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons.
Trout homered leading off the fourth, driving in his 98th run. The AL MVP candidate hasn’t let up despite the Angels’ woes: He drew his major league-best 111th walk in the sixth inning to set a career high, and he added his 112th walk in the eighth, pulling one behind Tony Phillips for the Angels franchise record.
Manaea pitched seven sharp innings of four-hit ball for the A’s, extending his strong finish to the season. The rookie left-hander has allowed one run in 18 innings over his last three starts after a two-week absence with a back strain.
“He’s everything that we want him to be,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Manaea. “Aside from a few outings early on … he’s been borderline dominant, and against good lineups. He’s been good all year long.”
Athletics: OF Josh Lambo rejoined the team for batting practice three months after testicular cancer surgery. He’s hoping to play winter ball next month.
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards will throw live batting practice Wednesday. He hasn’t faced hitters since tearing an elbow ligament in May.
Athletics: Daniel Mengden (2-8, 5.74 ERA) has the lowest winning percentage in the AL, but is 2-1 with a .232 opponents’ batting average on the road this season.
Angels: Ricky Nolasco (7-14, 4.60) has won his last two starts, throwing 13 scoreless innings. He also threw a shutout at the Big A earlier this season.