ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Raul Ibanez emerged from the Los Angeles Angels’ clubhouse with a bat and a ball he signed for a young girl and her parents.
They were gifts after the family returned the ball he drove into the right-field seats for his 2,000th career hit – a three-run homer that tied the score in the ninth inning. The 41-year-old Ibanez posed with the family for photos with a big smile. However, he was still feeling the sting of a 13-inning 7-6 loss to the New York Mets on Saturday night.
After Ibanez’s homer off new Mets closer Jose Valverde, the game moved to the 12th. Matt Shoemaker, the eighth Angels pitcher, escaped his own bases-loaded jam by striking out Juan Lagares. But Anthony Recker drove the right-hander’s second pitch of the 13th into the left-field bullpen for his first homer of the season.
“The 12th inning was a momentum boost. It got us going and it got me going. That was exciting,” Shoemaker said. “I tried to stay in there as long as I could to give the team a chance to win. But the next inning, I was supposed to be locating the fastball low and away and definitely missed my spot. It was much higher than it was supposed to be, and he didn’t miss it.”
Jered Weaver was charged with four runs, three hits and four walks in 6 2-3 innings and struck out five, remaining winless in three starts.
Lucas Duda’s two-out solo homer in the second was the Mets’ only hit against Weaver until the seventh, when Curtis Granderson walked with one out and advanced to third on Duda’s two-out single. Lagares followed with an RBI single on Weaver’s 99th and final pitch.
“He struggled a little bit with location early, but he was able to get by and still made a lot of pitches to get out of trouble,” catcher Chris Iannetta said. “In the middle of the game, I thought he pitched great. That last inning, he made one tough pitch and that was it. Other than that, it was a really good ballgame for him.
“I think it’s more of a mechanical issue that he’s fighting right now. He just needs to make a couple of adjustments here and there, but it’s minor. He’ll be fine. I’m not necessarily worried about that.”
Iannetta homered in the fifth, thwarted an attempted double steal and tagged out a runner at the plate to complete a double play started by left fielder Collin Cowgill – who also homered against Mets starter Jonathon Niese, in the sixth.
Omar Quintanilla, the Mets’ No. 9 hitter, provided some temporary insurance in the ninth with a two-run single off Kevin Jepsen. But Valverde, who spent the previous four years in Detroit and lost his closer role last season, ended up with his first blown save in three chances since signing with the Mets as a free agent in February.
“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” manager Terry Collins said. “He didn’t pitch a lot last year, so we were hoping that the added rest was going to help him get some arm strength back. And he’s throwing the ball very well. Tonight’s really the worst outing he’s had.”
Valverde, who converted all 49 save chances in 2011 for the Tigers, was the 239th different pitcher Ibanez has homered against in 19 big league seasons.
“Jose wasn’t able to come through tonight, but I know he will next time,” Recker said. “He’s been there before. He’s been through the good and the bad. He’s a veteran, and he’ll be OK. We want him to have confidence every time he goes out there – because, let’s face it, he’s a pretty darn good pitcher. So we don’t want to lose that.”
John Lannan (1-0) pitched two perfect innings for the victory.
Niese allowed three runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings with five strikeouts and a walk.
NOTES: Pujols had 21 homers, 63 RBIs and a .311 average in 71 career games against the Mets during his 11 seasons with St. Louis. … Weaver is 27-15 with a 3.38 ERA in 51 starts since his no-hitter against Minnesota on May 2, 2012. … This was Weaver’s second career start against the Mets. The other was on June 16, 2008, when he gave up two home runs by Carlos Beltran in a 9-6 loss at Angel Stadium. … The Angels obtained Cowgill from the Mets last June in a trade that sent OF Kyle Johnson to Flushing.