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Must C Classic: Ibanez tallies dramatic 2000th hit

ANAHEIM -- Jered Weaver got closer to winning Saturday night, and ending his season-opening, two-start losing streak.

But the Angels right-hander was unhappy he didn't get to decide his own fate in a 13-inning, 7-6 loss to the Mets at Angel Stadium.

Asked if he was fatigued when manager Mike Scioscia took him out with two outs in the seventh, leading 3-1, Weaver said: "I was pretty confident I could get the next hitter out. Scioscia didn't have that same confidence and wanted to go with a fresh guy. What can you do?"

Anthony Recker, who later won the game for New York with a 13th-inning home run off Matt Shoemaker, greeted reliever Fernando Salas with a two-run single. Weaver got off the hook for the loss when Raul Ibanez's milestone 2,000th hit, a two-out, three-run homer off Mets closer Jose Valverde sent the teams into extra innings for the second night in a row.

"I really thought Weav worked hard to get to that point in the game," Scioscia said of his decision. "His linescore was good, but his ball-strike ratio (99 pitches, 50 strikes) was as off as I've ever seen from Jered.

"We felt he pitched well and got us to a certain point of the game."

Scioscia, who said he thought Weaver was fatigued, added that his ace is "mentally as tough as, and as confident as, anyone in the game. He gave us a chance to win. He had to battle hard to get to be where he was in that game."

Ibanez, 41, said he was unaware his homer was his 2,000th hit until after hitting it.

"Once you're in the moment of the at-bat, you don't realize what it is until after it happens," Ibanez said. "I just wanted to win the game. It gave us a tie.

"It's a huge blessing, and a big moment for the team, to hit a significant home run and give us a chance to pull it out. It just didn't happen."

Ibanez, then with the Yankees, forced extra innings in Game 1 of the 2012 ALCS with a ninth-inning, two-run homer off Valverde, then with Detroit. But, Ibanez said, he was not thinking about that either.

"I wanted to hit something I could drive, not necessarily for a home run, something I could hit hard and keep the line moving for the team," he said. "That [ALCS homer] was just one at-bat, and he's a tough pitcher with two plus pitches."

Years ago, he said, he never thought about milestones such as his hits or his 302 Major League home runs.

"In 2001, I was designated for assignment twice, and every team passed on me at age 29," Ibanez said. "Two thousand hits? I was hoping to just get 2,000 at-bats."

It was Ibanez's second homer in his first season with the Angels.

"Raul, he has that ability," Scioscia said. "He had a tremendous season last year [29 homers at age 40 for Seattle]. It was good to see him drive it and contribute tonight,"

The Angels' deficit had grown to 6-3 on Omar Quintanilla's two-run single off Kevin Jepsen in the ninth. Counting the two runs Salas allowed to score in the seventh, Angels relievers allowed four of five inherited runners to score Saturday, and have let in nine of 15 on the season.

"It was a big home run by Raul there to get us back in it," Weaver said. "We just couldn't get over the hump."

As it was, the game came down to Shoemaker (0-1) missing badly on a 1-1 fastball to Recker, after he'd battled out of a bases-loaded jam in the 12th.

"It was supposed to be down and away -- I definitely missed my spot," the rookie right-hander said. "It's all on me." Comments