Pujols hits 2 HRs, leads Angels over Texas
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jered Weaver is as hot as a pitcher can get, though he doesn’t necessarily want to physically feel that way.
To avoid as much exposure to the typical Texas summer heat, Weaver warmed up inside as opposed to outside in the bullpen. Whether it was key to his success Tuesday night is hard to tell because he looked as good as he typically does these days.
Albert Pujols homered twice to help Weaver win his eighth consecutive start and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 6-2.
Pujols, Mike Trout and Torii Hunter — the top of the order — each had two RBIs in topping the Rangers for a second consecutive game in a series between two of the AL West’s frontrunners.
“That bullpen gets really hot down there,” said Weaver (14-1), who gave up two runs on five hits, a walk and three strikeouts over 6 1-3 innings in becoming just the eighth AL pitcher since 1921 to win at least six games without a loss in July.
“It was a little bit cooler down here in the cage. It definitely helped. I wasn’t sweaty and gassed before the first inning.”
Trout went 2 for 4, including a two-run home run, and two runs scored, tying the major-league rookie record for runs scored in July with 32. He has 80 runs in 81 games this season. His 10 home runs in the month set a new AL record.
“I just went out there and played my game,” Trout said about his month. “It’s being more comfortable out there.”
Derek Holland (7-6) took the loss for the Rangers, whose lead over the Angels in the division was cut to three games. Oakland trailed by three but played late against Tampa Bay.
Pujols hit a solo home run in the fourth and another in a three-run sixth that increased Los Angeles’ lead to 4-0. It was Pujols’ 43rd multi-homer game of his career.
Holland didn’t help himself, walking the No. 9 hitter, Chris Iannetta, to begin the inning. Trout compounded that error by smacking a two-run home run — his 18th of the season — into the Angels’ bullpen in left-center field.
Holland has served up seven home runs in his past three starts.
“They’re a good ball team,” Holland said. “If you make a mistake, they’re going to hit it. The main thing was I felt good about the start. I made a great pitch to Trout, but he was ahead in the count.”
Hunter’s two-run double in the seventh extended the Angels’ lead to 6-0.
David Murphy’s double scored Josh Hamilton, who was 1 for 4 with a single, and Michael Young, accounting for the Rangers’ runs.
The Rangers had a chance to get to Weaver by putting two on with no out in the bottom of the sixth, but Ian Kinsler popped out to Pujols at first, Elvis Andrus grounded into a fielder’s choice and Adrian Beltre’s groundout to second ended the inning.
During his run of eight consecutive victories, Weaver has a 2.01 ERA and that includes giving up five runs to the Yankees on July 15.
“I think (warming up inside) helped him,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “It was smoking out there.
“But he pitched a heck of a game. He had a great game plan and went out there and executed it.”
NOTES: Mark Trumbo returned to the Angels lineup Tuesday as the designated hitter. He missed Monday’s game because of a muscle spasm in his rib cage. Out of the lineup was Kendrys Morales, who had two home runs and six RBIs in the sixth inning of the Angels’ victory Monday. . Angels manager Mike Scioscia confirmed that pitcher Dan Haren (stiffness in his side) will miss his start Wednesday, but “possibly” return to start Sunday. . The Angels placed left-hander Scott Downs on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left shoulder, team officials announced. The team recalled left-hander Hisanori Takahashi from Triple-A Salt Lake City to take Downs’ place in the bullpen. In 35 appearances for the Angels this season, Takahashi is 0-2 with a 4.37 ERA. . Josh Hamilton’s three hits Monday represented his first game with three hits since May 11 and first multi-hit game since July 4.