ANAHEIM, Calif.: It’s uncertain when Zach McAllister began to be taken seriously as a legitimate front line starter.
He made a quantum leap last year, when he not only became more exact with his command but smarter in the way he set up hitters. His fastball even got a little faster.
That progress has continued this season to the point that when he pitches, it’s taken for granted he will keep the Indians in the game for six innings or more.
Keeping them in the game was an understatement Monday night, as McAllister (6-7, 3.59 ERA) yielded only one run in 6⅓ innings to propel the Indians to a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim Stadium.
“I think Zach wants to be that guy who stops losing streaks and gets into the eighth or ninth inning,”manager Terry Francona said. “And I think he’s going to grow into that. He wants to be the best, and I don’t think anything is going to get in his way.”
Asked to rate his performance, McAllister said, “I think I had moments that were good and others when I struggled a little. But I’ll take that every day of the week.”
Michael Brantley reached a milestone by playing his 213th consecutive game without committing an error, one more than Rocky Colavito (from Sept. 25, 1959 — June 15, 1966). The mark by Colavito was interrupted by stints in Detroit and Kansas City.
“I don’t talk about records,”Brantley said. “I didn’t even know about it until I got in here [after the game].”
The Angels’ only serious run at McAllister came in the fourth, which began with Erick Aybar lifting an opposite field fly to no-man’s land that fell for a double. One out later, Mark Trumbo singled to score Aybar. Hank Conger followed with a double to put runners on second and third with the tying run at the plate.
But when Chris Nelson hit a fly ball to medium shallow right, Nick Swisher, who homered in the ninth, threw out Trumbo trying to score after the catch, ending the inning.
“I thought Zach established his fastball early in the game,” Francona said. “A couple of times he lost control of it, but he reeled it back in.”
Jered Weaver usually has no trouble anesthetizing the bats of the Indians.
Coming into Monday night’s start, Weaver’s career record against them was 7-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 15 starts. In his previous eight starts against the Tribe, he was 6-1 with a 1.31 ERA and that includes an Aug. 9 outing in which he gave up two runs in seven innings, earning the victory
But that was not the Jered Weaver (7-7, 3.62 ERA) who took the mound Monday night. It’s not as though he pitched like Sigourney Weaver, but he suffered one bad inning that netted the Tribe four runs.
The Indians batted around in the fourth, with Weaver walking Jason Kipnis to set the rally in motion. Kipnis stole second and scored on Carlos Santana’s single, and one out later, Asdrubal Cabrera doubled to put runners at second and third.
Giambi followed with a sacrifice fly to score Santana, and Lonnie Chisenhall capped the rally by hitting his seventh home run of the season to score two more runs.
“Weaver is as good as anybody,” Jason Giambi said. “He has a chance to throw a no-hitter every time out.”
Weaver certainly was not at his best, but he lasted through the sixth inning, giving up eight hits and two walks. He also hit Cabrera.
“The way Weaver pitches,” Francona said, “you’re always one pitch from rolling over into a double play.”
Chris Perez pitched the ninth and gave up a solo homer to Trumbo, who has gone deep three games in a row.