Series: Game 3 of 4

LA Angels leads 2-1 (as of 7/8)

Game 1: Thursday, July 6
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Game 2: Friday, July 7
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Game 3: Saturday, July 8
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Game 4: Sunday, July 9
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Angels 6

(42-45, 23-22 away)

Athletics 4

(45-42, 24-21 home)

    9:05 PM ET, July 8, 2006 Coliseum, Oakland, California 

    123456789 R H E
    LAA 002021100 6 12 0
    OAK 000000040 4 9 0

    W: J. Weaver (6-0)

    L: J. Blanton (8-8)

    S: F. Rodriguez (20)

    Angels' bullpen survives A's threat; Weaver now 6-0

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Jered Weaver has already pitched himself into the Los Angeles Angels' record books and impressed a lot of people.

    Elias Says
    Jered Weaver
    This Angel has his wings already. Rookie Jered Weaver improved to 6-0 Saturday, noteworthy on one front because te last pitcher who started his big-league career with such a streak was Boo Ferriss for the 1945 Red Sox; he followed that formula in each of his first seven major-league appearances. Ferris actually won his first eight starts, pitching a complete game and allowing no more than two runs in each of them; he appeared in a game in relief prior to his eighth start, throwing a scoreless inning.

    • For more Elias Says, click here.

    Weaver went seven strong innings to remain perfect in six starts, leading the Angels to a 6-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.

    "He's a good pitcher," A's first baseman Nick Swisher said. "There's a reason he's back up here. He's got good control and has three pretty good pitches. In the seventh inning we were still stuck on one hit. We had to wake up sometime."

    A day after John Lackey retired 27 straight after giving up a leadoff double, Weaver (6-0) was nearly as impressive. The rookie right-hander, who took his older brother Jeff's spot in the rotation and on the team June 30, retired 16 of the last 18 batters he faced.

    "Everybody works off each other," Weaver said. "That's what makes our rotation pretty strong. It's pretty tough to match what he did last night so I'm just happy everything went the way it did."

    Weaver, who allowed two hits, became the first Angels pitcher to win his first six major league starts. He walked two and struck out five and lowered his earned-run average to 1.12.

    "I don't really look at it like a streak or anything," he said. "I just have to go out there and locate pitches. For the most part I've been doing that. I'm sure there's going to be some adjustments somewhere along the line but for now I'm going to pitch to my strengths."

    Maicer Izturis had three hits, including his first home run in nearly a year, as the Angels crept within three games of the AL West-leading A's, the closest they've been since May 12. Chone Figgins had four hits, drove in a run and stole two bases.

    "Guys have been swinging the bat all year," Figgins said. "What makes a good team good is the ability to overcome the struggles."

    Juan Rivera also homered for the Angels, who have won seven of eight. Orlando Cabrera and Mike Napoli also drove in runs.

    Joe Blanton (8-8) lost his first game to a division rival in six starts and fell to 0-4 against the Angels, his worst record versus any team. He lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits. He walked three and struck out five.

    "They hit some good pitches and I made some mistakes," Blanton said.

    Brendan Donnelly started the eighth and gave up four singles, with Swisher driving in a run, before leaving with the bases loaded and two outs.

    Francisco Rodriguez gave up a two-run single to Frank Thomas and a run-scoring single to Jay Payton in the eighth. He struck out Bobby Crosby with two runners on to end the inning and pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 22 chances.

    Tommy Murphy, a late addition to the lineup, also contributed with a pair of outstanding plays in center field. He made a sliding catch of Crosby's short fly and doubled off Thomas at first to end the second, and crashed into the wall in left-center one step after catching up to Bobby Kielty's deep fly to open the third.

    Murphy replaced Garret Anderson, who was scratched with tightness in his left hamstring -- the same injury that kept him out of Friday night's game.

    The A's were limited to two hits -- both by Mark Kotsay -- over a 50-batter span the past two games until Payton singled with two outs in the seventh.

    Izturis' first home run since Aug. 27 -- and third of his career -- gave the Angels a 2-0 lead in the third. With two outs, Figgins tripled and Izturis hit a 1-2 offering from Blanton into the left-field bleachers.

    "I'm a player with very little strength considering the other guys here," Izturis said through an interpreter. "I just think contact. I hit the ball in front of me and the ball carried well."

    Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly and Napoli doubled home a run to make it 4-0 in the fifth.

    Figgins singled home a run in the sixth and Rivera hit his 11th homer, a solo shot off Chad Gaudin, in the seventh.

    Game notes

    Thomas moved past Mickey Mantle into 43rd place with 1,511 RBI. ... Figgins has 23 steals against the A's, his most against any team. ... Angels 3B Dallas McPherson and 1B Casey Kotchman are within a week or two of beginning rehab assignments. ... A's OF Milton Bradley went 4-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI in a rehab assignment with Sacramento of the PCL. ... Rodriguez has 10 saves against the A's, his most against any team. ... A's 3B Eric Chavez snapped an 0-for-25 streak with runners in scoring position with his eighth inning single.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press