ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Jered Weaver’s goal every time out is to pitch deep into the game and help ease the stress on an already taxed Los Angeles Angels bullpen. This time, he failed to make it past the second inning because of back stiffness.
But five relievers filled in for Weaver on Monday night, and Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar each had run-scoring hits in the fifth inning to help the Angels’ beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2.
Weaver departed after retiring all six batters he faced. The 31-year-old right-hander felt some discomfort while fielding a one-out comebacker in the second by Adam Lind.
“It kind of jarred me a little bit, but I didn’t feel anything the next at-bat by (Dioner) Navarro,” Weaver said. “Then I came into the dugout and it tightened up really bad. I couldn’t get it stretched out.”
“We came in and did some treatment on it right away,” Weaver added. “That freed it up, so it feels about 80 percent better than when I came out. So we’ll stay on top of it, and hopefully it won’t linger too long.”
The winning pitcher was Matt Shoemaker (7-2), who made 61 pitches in his emergency stint while allowing two runs and five hits through 3 2-3 innings. The rookie right-hander had thrown 102 pitches last Thursday in a win over Houston.
“It was unbelievable. You talk about trying to earn respect points, and Shoemaker definitely did that - going on three days’ rest,” Weaver said. “I mean, for him to step up and do what he did after not thinking he was going to pitch tonight was pretty spectacular.”
Before Shoemaker took the mound, he made a number of hard long-toss throws to catcher Chris Iannetta from an area between the mound and second base.
“I play long-toss before a warm up before a start, so that’s part or my repertoire,” Shoemaker said. “I feel like that helps me get my arms and legs stretched out a little bit more, and I definitely think that helped tonight.”
The Angels’ recently acquired veteran duo of Joe Thatcher and Jason Grilli helped piece it together with Kevin Jepsen and Joe Smith, who got three outs for his 11th save.
The Angels extended their home winning streak to 11 games, one shy of the franchise record set in 1967 - their second season in Anaheim. They are 16 games over .500 for the first time since ending the 2012 season at 89-73, and remain 3 1/2 games behind AL West-leading Oakland.
“If you get momentum and some confidence going, and guys start feeling good and kind of feed off each other in the dugout and in the lockerroom, it’s fun to be a part of,” left fielder Josh Hamilton said.
Toronto had only two singles after Juan Francisco’s two-out homer in the fifth against Shoemaker. The Blue Jays’ season-worst fifth straight loss dropped them three games behind AL East-leading Baltimore following the Orioles’ 8-2 win at Washington.
“We thought we finally caught a break when Weaver left, but they they shut us down,” manager John Gibbons said. Shoemaker’s been starting, but he came back on short rest and did a good job for them.”
J.A. Happ (7-5) was charged with five runs, seven hits and three walks in 4 1-3 innings.