Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Weaver a Winner as Cardinals Upend Athletics

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Weaver a Winner as Cardinals Upend Athletics

Article excerpt

Rookie Luke Weaver made his first Busch Stadium start Friday night and, after two so-so performances on the road, he was as advertised.

Weaver, who had lasted just four and five innings in his first two outings, worked six strong frames against the Oakland Athletics and was in command throughout after perhaps giving too much credit to the opposition the first couple of times around.

Weaver, pitching ahead in more counts than before, struck out seven and the only run he allowed was on Yonder Alonso's second- inning homer. That was among the four hits Weaver surrendered as he gained his first big-league win, 3-1. It also was the Cardinals' first home interleague victory in eight such games this year at Busch Stadium.

"(Weaver) looks like he can be here forever or a long time," Cardinals third baseman Jhonny Peralta said. "What do you think?

"He goes inside. He goes away. He's a good pitcher."

Through 83 minor-league innings this year, between mostly Class AA Springfield and Class AAA Memphis, the 22-year-old righthander had posted a 7-2 mark and 1.30 earned-run average. His big-league ERA for his brief career had been 5.00.

After Weaver navigated his six innings on 95 pitches, Matt Bowman, Kevin Siegrist and Seung Hwan Oh knocked off one scoreless inning each. The Cardinals played a spotless defensive game, with gems from center fielder Randal Grichuk and Peralta, and had just enough offense. They got their obligatory home run from Jedd Gyorko, extending their streak to 15 games in which they have hit at least one.

Catcher Yadier Molina thought Weaver had shown the same stuff he has displayed previously but "his location was a little better."

Weaver said, "I trusted myself. I did little mechanical thing where I was able to stay through the pitches better. I was just believing I could be aggressive in the (strike) zone.

"Tonight, everything felt better. I felt like I could put it where I was wanting to put it, besides a couple of pitches. This is definitely a step up from the other starts."

Besides getting the baseball for the final out from Oh, Weaver also got a postgame splashing for his first big-league victory.

"Water," he said. "I think it came from the Arctic. It was very cold."

Weaver said he had been nervous at the beginning, which is not unusual, "but as I settled in, I could just feel the crowd and it was a lot of fun."

Manager Mike Matheny said, "The fans were great in support of him and I think they're going to continue to like what they see. He's learning and improving but he's got a great repertoire to work with. Look at all the ground balls (his last three outs were on the ground). That means he's trusting his stuff."

Addressing some things he had changed from his first two starts, Weaver said he told himself not to rush and be smooth with his mechanics.

"You get amped up and get excited out there, things start to go a little faster," he said. …

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