ANAHEIM -- Hard-throwing Angels starter Jered Weaver lasted eight shutout innings and softer-throwing Bruce Chen went just six shutout innings and 75 pitches before Royals manager Ned Yost took him out of Friday night's opener.
Why pull Chen at that point when he was so effective?
"He was rolling," Yost agreed but added: "Third time around with [Howie] Kendrick, [Albert] Pujols, [Torii] Hunter. It's not just you look at 75 pitches and you quit, right? You go by the game and we had a lot of factors that went into that game.
"One, I had a fully stocked bullpen. Two, it was a 0-0 game. If we had one run or two runs to work with, I would've sent Bruce back out. But we didn't. We were one swing away from danger, with the meat of that order [coming up for the third time]. So it was a tough decision -- to send Bruce back out there or do you just go with your fully stocked bullpen with power arms that match up best against these guys in the seventh inning, hoping that you were going to score a run somewhere?"
Yost opted for the latter and it paid off in the seventh when Aaron Crow blew third strikes past Kendrick, Pujols and Hunter. When the Royals didn't score against Weaver in the eighth, he stayed with Crow because who knew how long the 0-0 tie would last? He didn't want to expend his other two late-inning pitchers, Greg Holland and and Jonathan Broxton too soon in case of extra innings.
As it turned out, Crow got one out in the eighth and the roof caved in. Angels poured across five runs against Crow and Holland to win, 5-0.
Weaver, who gave up just four hits, and Scott Downs, who pitched a perfect ninth, dealt the Royals just the second Opening Day shutout in their 44-year history. The first came 36 years ago, on April 9, 1976, at Chicago's old Comiskey Park when the White Sox's Wilbur Wood beat the Royals and Paul Splittorff, 4-0. That Royals team went on to win 90 games and capture the American League West title.