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Old 04-11-09, 02:37 PM
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Grief-stricken Angels beat Red Sox 6-3

Grief-stricken Angels beat Red Sox 6-3
By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
13 hours, 27 minutes ago


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Jered Weaver reached down to the mound with his finger and etched Nick Adenhart’s initials in the dirt.

Then it was time to pitch.

So Weaver did the best he could to gather his emotions, striking out eight in a strong season debut that served as a tribute to his friend and rookie teammate.

Weaver and the grief-stricken Los Angeles Angels, still mourning Adenhart’s shocking death, returned to baseball Friday night with a 6-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

“It was one of the toughest I’ve had to get through,” said Weaver, who allowed only an unearned run in 6 2-3 innings. “It still really hasn’t hit home yet. I shed a couple tears before I went over there.”

Weaver usually traces his grandparents’ initials on the mound before every start. This time, he honored Adenhart.

“He’s never going to be forgotten,” Weaver said.

The right-hander tipped his cap as he left to a standing ovation after facing two batters in the seventh.

Nearing the dugout, he pointed his right index finger to the sky.

“You know he’s looking down on you,” said Weaver, who grew close to Adenhart during spring training and had planned to room with him in Long Beach starting Easter Sunday. “He’s going to help us battle through the season.”

It was the Angels’ ninth consecutive regular-season victory against the Red Sox—the longest in franchise history—but the joy over this one was muted by prevailing sadness.

The 22-year-old Adenhart and two of his friends were killed when their car was broadsided early Thursday in a crash caused by a suspected drunk driver who was charged with three counts of murder Friday.

“We’re happy to get a win,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “It doesn’t do much for what happened the last couple of days, but we’re playing baseball. When the game’s over and you start to think about it, it doesn’t ease the pain.”

The Angels honored Adenhart, Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson with a moment of silence before the game as the team resumed playing after postponing Thursday’s scheduled game against Oakland.

“When you hear the words `play ball’ (after the moment of silence), it’s like, `Whoa,”’ Boston manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t know how hard it is, but there’s a lot of good people over there trying to handle it together.”

Adenhart’s presence was felt all around Angel Stadium. A growing collection of flowers, candles, Rally Monkeys, baseballs and handwritten messages were piled in tribute on the replica pitcher’s mound outside the gates.

The rookie’s No. 34 was painted in red on the back slope of the mound. A black-and-white photo of him in mid-toss was on the center-field wall next to his name and number in a black circle.

During the pregame tribute, Torii Hunter and John Lackey held Adenhart’s jersey on the mound with their heads bowed during the silence. Lackey carried the jersey back to the dugout, where it was hung on the back wall next to the shelves of batting helmets.

Hunter jogged out to take his position in center field, stopping to touch Adenhart’s photo on the wall.

“I just wanted to go out there and pump him on the chest,” Hunter said. “I was teary-eyed. It’s tough, man. He was a great kid, loved him and he’s going to be missed. We wanted to get the win for Nick and for us.”

The Angels wore No. 34 patches, which will remain on their home and road jerseys throughout the season.

Adenhart’s locker in the corner of the clubhouse was almost as he left it, except for a tall jar of dirt scooped from the pitcher’s mound that rested on top of the lineup card from Wednesday’s game.

“I just keep hoping he walks through that door,” said pitcher Kevin Jepsen, whose locker adjoins Adenhart’s. “The moment of silence just brings tears to your eyes. You get that feeling inside. You don’t know what to do. You feel helpless.”

Los Angeles Angels pitching c…
AP - Apr 11, 1:14 am EDT

For 2 1/2 hours during the game, though, everything seemed routine again. Music blared and fans cheered the action while scarfing down food and drinks.

“Once you get into it, the game has a way of sucking you right in,” Scioscia said. “While you’re playing, you’re into competing and that’s what these guys are used to doing.”

Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (0-1) gave up three runs and six hits in six innings, walking five and striking out four.

“It’s difficult, knowing what they’re going through over there and knowing what Nick’s family’s going through right now,” Wakefield said. “It’s just a sad situation.”

Chone Figgins’ RBI single and a two-run single by Howie Kendrick gave the Angels a 3-0 lead in the second.

They extended the lead to 6-1 in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Hunter and Jeff Mathis’ two-run single.

The Red Sox scored their first run in the third on David Ortiz’s sacrifice fly, then pulled to 6-3 in the eighth. Jacoby Ellsbury scored on Kevin Youkilis’ infield hit, and Dustin Pedroia also scored on the play when the throw from third baseman Figgins got past first baseman Kendry Morales for an error.

Scot Shields got four outs to earn his first save of the season.

Notes

The Red Sox are 1-6 in Anaheim since the start of the 2007 season, with their lone win coming on Aug. 8 that year. But Boston has eliminated the Angels in the first round of the playoffs three times since 2004. … Youkilis went 2-for-4, becoming the first Boston player to have multiple hits in the club’s first four games since Jose Offerman and Mike Stanley did it to start the 1999 season. … Thursday night’s game against Oakland that was postponed will likely be made up on Aug. 27 in Anaheim. … Angels LHP Joe Saunders will start Saturday’s game and RHP Dustin Moseley will start Sunday.

Grief-stricken Angels beat Red Sox 6-3 - MLB - Yahoo! Sports
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