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LAA@CLE: Weaver hurls seven frames of one-run ball

CLEVELAND -- Same actors, same scene, same high drama. The only difference was the closing act.

This time rookie Jordan Walden walked away beaming, having preserved a 2-1 victory for his Angels and Jered Weaver at the Indians' expense on Tuesday night in front of 19,430 at Progressive Field.

Rookie Mark Trumbo's two-out, two-strike, two-run double in the seventh inning was the decisive stroke against hard-luck Josh Tomlin, lifting Weaver to his 14th win in 18 decisions.

"I wanted to be out there tonight," Walden said. "You want to forget about it, and the best way to do that is to get back out there and pitch again. I'm thankful for the opportunity."

On the verge of letting his second game get away in two nights, having blown a save for Dan Haren on Monday night in the ninth, Walden met the challenge head-on.

The Angels' closer took deep breaths, reached back and found the right stuff -- good old Texas heat -- to turn a bases-loaded, none-out crisis into the performance of his young career.

It ended with rookie Jason Kipnis, a hero the night before, swinging through a fastball with two men in scoring position after Matt LaPorta had grounded into a double play with none out and the bases loaded. It was started by second baseman Howard Kendrick and turned by catcher Jeff Mathis, wheeling a throw to Trumbo at first.

"We had our chance at the end," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We just couldn't get the ball out of the infield. They stopped the magic tonight."

With LaPorta, having homered in his previous at-bat, stepping into the box, Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought the infield up and watched everything play out as if he'd scripted it.

"We're playing in with the bases loaded and with a guy throwing as hard as Walden," Kendrick said. "Most of the time a guy's going to be late against him. He tried to foul it off, I think, but he happened to hit a chopper.

"I didn't know if we were going to get two, but I knew I had to make a good throw to Mathis. Jeff turned it around pretty quick and we got the guy at first. Jordan took care of the rest."

The uprising had started with singles by Travis Hafner and Carlos Santana, followed by Lonnie Chisenhall's bunt single.

"The guy [Hafner] hits the lip [of the infield] and one-hops Torii [Hunter] in right field," Walden said, shaking his head. "The next guy [Santana] hits a ground-ball single, and then they get a perfect bunt [by Chisenhall] on a pitch up and away. I don't know how he did that.

"I went to 3 and 2 on LaPorta. The 2-2 pitch was supposed to be in and got way in. I wanted to go away on the next pitch, and he sort of checked his swing and hit it to Howie. The infield was up, and Howie and Jeff both made great plays. Then it was high heat on the last guy."

The save was his 24th -- and best.

"I think Jordan's fine," Scioscia said. "It's important for him to turn the page. If he gave it up again, he'd show up [Wednesday] with the same stuff. I don't know if Jordan did it for himself. For us trying to groom a closer, that's a great statement he made."

Trumbo supplied what Weaver had been waiting for with his two-run blast crashing against the wall in right-center.

"He threw me nothing but cutters all night, every single pitch," Trumbo said, having grounded out to Tomlin his first two at-bats, sharply on the first one. "I got inside it [on the double] and stayed through it.

"This is one of those series where their guys have been throwing the ball well."

Trumbo's "laser," as Scioscia put it, brought home Bobby Abreu and Kendrick. Abreu had led off the inning with a single and Kendrick was walked intentionally in front of Trumbo with first base open.

"Tomlin was in complete command the whole night," Acta said, his right-hander having slipped to 11-5 despite eight strong innings. "He made one mistake after handling Trumbo very well the whole night, and he made him pay for it."

Weaver had an idea what was coming.

"I kind of figured Trumbo was going to get the big hit there, when I saw them walking Howie," Weaver said. "That's the way he is. I knew he was going to come up big.

"That's a tough situation for a young kid to come up in, and he proved he can come through in those situations."

Trumbo admittedly had "a little added motivation going up there" as Kendrick was being given a free pass.

LaPorta cut the deficit in half with his solo homer in the seventh, his ninth. It was just the sixth homer surrendered by Weaver in 161 innings and the second in his past 13 starts.

"He has terrific command," Scioscia said. "He's evolving as a pitcher. Every number you look at with Weav has an exclamation with it."

Weaver shaved his MLB-best ERA to 1.79, but it was no cruise. He left runners at the corners in the third and fourth innings.

"He had to start pitching early in the game, knowing we weren't scoring runs," Scioscia said. "He had to work to get into the seventh. Every one of the [at-bats] seemed like it was a battle."

Scott Downs walked the leadoff man in the eighth and fell behind 2-0 to Michael Brantley, who eventually hit into a double play. Downs finished the inning, and then it was Walden redemption time. Comments