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Weaver first rookie in 25 years to win first 7 starts

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Even without his best stuff, Jered Weaver won again.

Struggling early with his breaking ball, the 6-foot-7
right-hander still became the first rookie in 25 years to win his
first seven starts Sunday, pitching the Los Angeles Angels past the
Kansas City Royals 3-1.

Not since Fernando Valenzuela went 8-0 for the Los Angeles
Dodgers in 1981 had any rookie launched his career with seven wins
in seven starts.

"We're getting wins. That's all I really care about," Weaver
said. "For my first seven, I've been able to do that. We've just
got to keep it rolling, and hopefully we'll get good defense like
we've been having in my seven games."

How good has the No. 12 pick of the 2004 draft been?

He went 6 2/3 innings in his second start against Kansas City,
giving up three hits and one run. His ERA actually went UP -- from
1.12 to 1.15 in 47 innings.

"What I was impressed with was the way Jered pitched around the
fact he didn't have command of his breaking ball, although he
wasn't missing by much," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He
was able to get his fastball over, and he threw some nice breaking
balls when he had to. But he pitched without his best stuff."

Robb Quinlan hit a two-run single and Adam Kennedy added an RBI
single, sending the surging Angels to their eighth win in 11 games.
They improved to 15-4 in July.

Weaver gave up only an infield single until the sixth, when the
Royals broke through for their lone run. He was relieved by J.C.
Romero after hitting Angel Berroa with a pitch.

This seventh straight victory, and the way Weaver got it, did a
lot to boost his confidence.

"Being able to get people out when I didn't have my best stuff,
it's definitely a confidence-builder," he said. "That was the big
key."

Romero got out of the seventh and Scot Shields worked a
scoreless eighth. Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his
25th save in 27 chances.

It was the first time Weaver has allowed more than two walks.
While beating Baltimore, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Seattle, Oakland and
Kansas City twice, he's never given up more than five hits or two
earned runs.

Still, the Royals were a bit perplexed.

"We sat around and talked about it afterward," Mark Teahen
said. "He's not throwing anything up there we haven't seen. Not
great stuff. But he makes his pitches, works both sides of the
plate and he's got a little deception with that turn he's got. He's
kind of throwing across his body. I feel like I saw him all right.
But he's hot right now."

Is he as good as his stats?

"I don't know if anybody's as good as his stats are right
now," Teahen said. "His stats right now are ridiculous. I doubt
his whole career he has stats like that. But he's making his
pitches when he needs to."

Quinlan had a two-run single off Brandon Duckworth (1-4) as the
Angels beat the Royals for the 11th time in their last 13 games in
Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals had only one hit -- a second-inning single that was
first ruled a fielder's choice -- until Doug Mientkiewicz singled
with one out in the sixth. With two outs, Teahen's double to
left-center broke up the shutout.

The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the second when Kennedy's RBI
single scored Juan Rivera, who was hit by a pitch with two outs. In
the fourth, the Angels loaded the bases on a double and two walks,
and Quinlan's bases-loaded single made it 3-0.

The Royals' first hit was originally ruled a fielder's choice
when Berroa hit a sharp grounder to the right of shortstop Orlando
Cabrera.

Cabrera made the pickup, then feigned a throw to first as
Berroa, a good runner, sped to the bag.

Cabrera then threw to catcher Mike Napoli for an easy putout of
Emil Brown, who made an ill-advised decision to try to score from
second on the play.

Berroa first was given a fielder's choice on the play, but it
was later changed to an infield single.

Duckworth went five innings and was charged with three runs,
five hits and four walks.

Game notes
The Royals have drawn 133 walks in the last 30 games. ...
The Royals have homered only twice in nine games. ... Chone Figgins
made an outstanding running catch of Mark Grudzielanek's drive into
the right-center gap in the sixth. ... Howie Kendrick was called
out for batter interference as Figgins stole second in the Angels'
seventh.