His gem complete, Jered Weaver started to sob. Then, there were more tears when his wife and mom and dad joined the Angels ace for a group hug.
Quite an on-field celebration for the California kid. And quite a performance — a no-hitter, for crying out loud.
Weaver pitched the second no-hitter in the majors in less than two weeks, completely overmatching Minnesota and leading Los Angeles to a 9-0 win over the Twins on Wednesday night.
”It was an easy ride,” Weaver said.
He’s about to get another chance to tame the Twins, too. His next start is scheduled for Monday night at Minnesota.
After Phil Humber of the Chicago White Sox threw a perfect game at Seattle on April 21, Weaver was almost as fine.
”He got pretty emotional, but I think it was more a case of him not believing he did it than anything else,” said Weaver’s father, Dave. ”I’m so happy for him. It’s just fantastic.”
Weaver struck out nine and walked one. The Twins never came close to getting a hit against the All-Star right-hander, and Weaver knew it.
”I probably started think about it in the third,” he said with a laugh. ”It’s tough not to think about it when you see some goose eggs up there. But in a professional ballgame, you never know what’s going to happen. A bloop hit or anything else could happen. A lot of things have got to go your way, and that happened tonight. It still hasn’t kicked in. It’s pretty awesome.”
Weaver (4-0), who played at Long Beach State, began the ninth inning by quickly retiring Jamey Carroll on a routine fly and striking out Denard Span looking.
Weaver then got Alexi Casilla to lift a long fly that right fielder Torii Hunter easily caught at the warning track. Weaver watched his Gold Glove outfielder make the play, and put his hands on his head as the Angels rushed out to mob him.
”Spiderman out there. I knew he had a bead on it,” Weaver said of Hunter. ”Casilla put a charge in it and Spiderman tracked it down.”
An inning earlier, Weaver and his teammates could only hope when Trevor Plouffe lined a shot that hooked foul a few feet before reaching the left-field foul pole.
After that, Weaver finished off the Twins in fast order.
”I was locked in for the most part,” he said.
It’s just so surreal, man. It’s awesome. And to have my family here and my wife, and knowing that my brother was watching, this is an awesome moment,” he said.
This was the second Angels no-hitter in less than a year — Ervin Santana pitched one July 27 at Cleveland — and the 10th for the Angels franchise, including four by Nolan Ryan.
Weaver threw 121 pitches, and the cheers from the crowd of 27,288 kept growing louder.
Weaver recalled how he once had a no-hit bid broken up in eighth, and said he was talking five days ago with Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson about coming close.
”C.J. came up to me and said: ‘Why don’t you just go out there and throw a no-hitter?’ And I said: ‘There’s no way. There’s no chance.’ So it’s funny that it happened,” he said.
Only one Minnesota batter reached base through the first seven innings, and that was when catcher Chris Iannetta committed a passed ball on strike three to Chris Parmelee with two out in the second. Josh Willingham drew the only walk Weaver allowed with two outs in the seventh.
”He dominated us, there’s no question about it,” Span said. ”He was doing everything. He kept us off-balance, changed speeds and finished strong.”
The Twins were held hitless for the first time since 1998, when David Wells of the New York Yankees pitched a perfect game against them.
The no-hitter was the highlight for a 29-year-old pitcher who has already compiled quite a resume.
Weaver finished second in the AL Cy Young voting last year after going 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA. He and winner Justin Verlander were the only pitchers listed on every ballot.
Kendrys Morales and Howie Kendrick homered to back Weaver, not that he needed much support.
The Angels’ three-game sweep of the Twins included a complete-game three-hit shutout on Tuesday night by Jerome Williams, who retired 18 of his last 19 batters.
The Twins haven’t had a hit in the last 15 innings.
It was the first time the Angels had back-to-back complete game wins since 1993 when Chuck Finley and Mark Langston did it.
The Angels built a 6-0 lead against Australian-born Liam Hendriks (0-2).
NOTE: Kendrick hit his fourth homer of the season and drove in three runs.