Series: Game 3 of 3

LA Angels won 2-1

Game 1: Monday, April 18
LA Angels1Final
Game 2: Tuesday, April 19
LA Angels15Final
Game 3: Wednesday, April 20
LA Angels4Final

Angels 4

(12-6, 8-4 away)

Rangers 1

(11-7, 7-2 home)

    8:05 PM ET, April 20, 2011

    Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    LAA 000110110 4 5 0
    TEX 000001000 1 6 2

    W: J. Weaver (5-0)

    L: M. Harrison (3-1)

    Jered Weaver first to five wins as streaking Angels beat Rangers

    Associated Press

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jered Weaver popped out of the dugout and ran quickly to the mound in the ninth inning. He wanted to finish what he started.

    Weaver became the major league's first five-game winner with eight strikeouts and no walks in a complete game, pitching the Los Angeles Angels to a 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

    "It takes a lot to go right to get off to a start like this. The team's playing well behind me and we're getting some runs," Weaver said. "Anytime you mix those two together, you'll be all right."

    Howie Kendrick and Vernon Wells homered for the Angels, who have won 11 of their past 14 games to take over first place in the AL West from the defending AL champion Rangers.

    Jeff Mathis drove in a run on a suicide squeeze bunt and also scored.

    "We're a lot way away from where we need to be for the long haul," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We've been getting some wins because we've been pitching well."

    It was the fifth career complete game for Weaver (5-0), who limited Texas to one run on six hits to lower his ERA to 1.23 this season. The right-hander threw 80 of his 119 pitches for strikes.

    "It's early, but anytime you came come into this ballpark and manufacture some runs and keep the runs off the board and take two of three from a club like that in their park, it's a plus," Weaver said. "It feels good, but you need things to go your way. ... Hopefully we can keep it rolling."

    Except for when the Angels won their opener a day before the rest of the AL West teams had played this season, Texas had been the division leader since last June 8. The Rangers, who were tied with Los Angeles after splitting the first two games of this series, last year won their first division title since 1999 after the Angels had won five of the previous six.

    The defending American League champions have lost six of eight, including three consecutive series.

    "We're playing good baseball. Other teams are playing good baseball too," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're only in April. ... No time to panic."

    Matt Harrison (3-1) struck out five while allowing three runs and four hits in his 6 2/3 innings, not good enough against Weaver. The right-hander had allowed only one earned run while pitching at least seven innings in each of his first three starts.

    "I know it's going to be a close game, I know have to bring my pitches," Harrison said. "I made those couple of mistakes, but I pitched well and have got to keep going. ... Tip my hat, he pitched a great game."

    Weaver, who had already set a major league record for the earliest calendar date to get his fourth victory, became the first pitcher since Dave Stewart for Oakland in 1990 to win five times in his team's first 18 games.

    All four of Weaver's previous complete games came during the 2009 season, when he won a career-high 16 games. He has a 69-39 career record in 149 career starts for the Angels since his major league debut in 2006.

    Kendrick led off the fourth with his sixth homer, matching Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees for the AL lead.

    Peter Bourjos had a one-out triple in the fifth and scored on the suicide squeeze by Mathis, the Angels' catcher who is a career .199 hitter. Mathis was credited with his second sacrifice of the game but reached when Harrison charged off the mound and kicked the ball for an error.

    Bourjos, the speedy center fielder, had a run-saving catch in the bottom of the seventh when he leaped at the warning track and caught David Murphy's fly ball with his glove extended above the 8-foot wall.

    "It wasn't until I got close that I thought I could catch it. ... I just didn't know if I had room," Bourjos said. "As I jumped against the wall, it was like, 'How did I get here?' It was pretty cool."

    Weaver pumped his arm excitedly while watching the play.

    "That was awesome," Weaver said. "It gave me a lot of motivation. It was unbelievable."

    Mathis had a double in the seventh and scored on a single by Izturis that made it 3-1 and chased Harrison.

    Wells, the Arlington native, led off the eighth with his first homer of the season.

    Elvis Andrus had an infield single for Texas in the first, but got picked off by Weaver, who had already thrown over to first base five times to the ire of the crowd before getting the out the sixth time.

    Game notes

    Both teams had their designated hitters leading off. The last time that happened in a major league game was June 15, 2005, when Atlanta played at Texas. ... Angels SS Erick Aybar was 0-for-4 in his return from the disabled list. ... Rangers closer Neftali Feliz, who hadn't pitched since Friday, walked three consecutive batters in the ninth but didn't give up a run. ... Angels RHP Joel Pineiro (right shoulder tightness) threw 45 pitches in three innings at extended spring training. Manager Mike Scioscia said Pinero's stuff "was terrific. He felt good." ... The Rangers have Thursday off, then play on 20 consecutive days. ... Wells had four homers in the first three games last season, while playing for Toronto at Texas.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Game Information

    StadiumGlobe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, TX
    Attendance31,967 (66.3% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
    Game Time2:44
    Weather62 degrees, cloudy
    Wind10 mph
    UmpiresHome Plate - John Tumpane, First Base - C.B. Bucknor, Second Base - Dan Iassogna, Third Base - Dale Scott

    Research Notes

    Jered Weaver's 5-0 start is impressive, but consider this: Since 2000, he's the 20th pitcher to win his first 5 starts of the season or more. Some notable random names on that list include Esteban Loaiza (2003, 5-0), Kaz Ishii (2002, 6-0), and... Jered Weaver. He won his first 7 starts of the 2006 season (they were also the first 7 of his career).
    How Angels starter Jered Weaver went the distance against the Rangers to move to 5-0: - Great slider: Weaver used his slider more often than usual to help neutralize a Rangers lineup that started seven righties. He threw 32 sliders among his 119 pitches (26.9 pct), the second highest percentage he's thrown in a start in the last three seasons. He had good command of the pitch, throwing 16 of his 32 sliders down and away, helping him get seven misses on nine swings on sliders in that location, the most he's had in a start in the last three seasons. - Wednesday's reliance on the slider continued a trend this season for Weaver. In five different starts in the last three seasons he's thrown his slider 25 percent or more of the time. Three of those have come this season, including his 15-strikeout performance against the Blue Jays on April 10. He's throwing the pitch 30.2 percent of the time this season against righties, as opposed to just 23.0 percent of the time the previous two seasons. Weaver has increased his slider use each of the last three seasons with an improved ability to get hitters to expand their strike zone. Jered Weaver's Slider Last 3 Seasons Pitch Pct Chase Pct 2011 21.2<< 40.3 2010 14.7 31.4 2009 12.4 27.4 >>26.9 on Wednesday, 2nd highest in last 3 seasons
    Jered Weaver is now 5-0. He is the first pitcher to have 5 wins in the team's first 18 games since Dave Stewart had 5 wins in 1990. The last Angels pitcher with 5 wins in the team's first 18 games was Frank Tanana in 1978 (5 wins).

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