Sidelined most of April and May, Jered Weaver is back to his usual dominance in July.
The right-hander, who missed two months with a broken elbow, extended his scoreless-innings streak against Oakland to 24 2-3 while helping the Los Angeles Angels come out of the All-Star break with a 4-1 victory on Friday night.
Weaver threw a season-high 118 pitches and improved to 3-1 in July, a month in which his winning percentage of .774 since 2006 is the best in the majors.
"I looked up in the fourth or fifth inning and the pitch count was up there but it definitely didn’t feel like it," Weaver said. "The 4-0 lead helps out a little bit and the defense played well behind me."
The Angels got homers from Albert Pujols, Erick Aybar and Mike Trout to snap a three-game skid and close within 10 games of the first-place Athletics.
Weaver (4-5) allowed four hits in 6 2-3 innings while striking out a season-high eight and walking four. The previous club record for scoreless innings against the A’s was 21, by Bob Lee in 1964-65.
"My slider was real good and I was able to throw that where I needed to, especially against lefties," Weaver said. "You want to try to utilize all your pitches throughout a game. Certain pitches weren’t there early, but I was able to get them later on."
Last season, Weaver gave up a solo homer to Seth Smith over 30 2-3 innings while going 3-0 in four starts against the A’s. Since 2011, the right-hander has dominated the A’s with a 7-1 record and 0.84 ERA in 10 starts.
"He’ll throw anything in any count," A’s manager Bob Melvin said. "And when he gets you to two strikes, that’s when he’ll throw his fastball the most and try to elevate and get you to chase. He had a good slider and he had a good curveball that he could drop in there when he was behind in the count."
Ernesto Frieri earned his 23rd save in 25 chances on his 28th birthday.
The Angels, who finished under .500 at the break for the first time since 2006, gave manager Mike Scioscia his 1,200th career win.
"We’ve dug a big hole. We know what we’re up against and we also know it’s doable," Scioscia said.
A.J. Griffin (8-7) gave up four runs and six hits in five innings, struck out four and walked one for the first-place A’s. His three-game winning streak in his previous four starts ended with his first loss since June 15 against Seattle.
"I feel like I pitched pretty well," Griffin said. "I gave up three home runs, but I felt like I was executing my pitches pretty well for the most part."
The Angels extended their lead to 4-0 in the fifth on homers by Aybar and Trout. Aybar led off the inning with his fourth of the season, while Trout’s 16th went to left field.
"Every game is big, especially against these guys," Trout said.
The Angels will play 13 of their first 20 games after the break against the A’s and Texas, the two teams ahead of them in the standings.
"We’re not in the position we thought we would be, but we’re still going to go out there and battle," said Weaver, the first pitcher to allow no runs in three straight starts against the A’s since David Cone in 1996-97.
Pujols, whose career .335 average in the second half of the season leads all active players, slugged his 16th homer with two outs in the third.
"I don’t look at numbers," he said before the game. "I don’t sit and look at the computer and papers. That’s a distraction you put in your mind."
Josh Hamilton’s RBI double to right field got past a diving Josh Reddick. It scored J.B. Shuck, who reached on an infield single to third and continued to second on a throwing error by third baseman Josh Donaldson.
Oakland scored its lone run on a RBI double by Chris Young in the ninth off Kevin Jepsen.
"We looked like we’ve been off for a few days, and that’s no excuse because the other team was going through the same thing we are," Melvin said. "We looked a little out of sync."
Notes: Oakland LF Yoenis Cespedes, who won the Home Run Derby on Monday during All-Star festivities, was scratched just before the game with a sore left wrist. "It came up today in batting practice," Melvin said. "When he was taking some swings in the cage, he still felt it, so we pulled him out." … Angels OF Peter Bourjos, on the DL with a right wrist fracture, will be re-evaluated on Monday, but isn’t expected back for a couple weeks. … Scioscia is 1,200-1,000 in his managerial career. … Angels RHP Tommy Hansen, on the DL with a strained right forearm, is a candidate to start on Tuesday against Minnesota. … The announced crowd of 43,515 was the fourth sellout of the season.