Angels 4, Rangers 1

Matt Harrison had another solid start for the Texas Rangers.

Except he was going against Jered Weaver.

The Rangers lost their third consecutive series after a 4-1 loss

Wednesday to the division rival Los Angeles Angels, dropping out of

first place in the AL West.

Weaver’s complete-game six-hitter made him the first five-game

winner in the majors.

”He’s always tough. He’s obviously off to a great start this

year,” Michael Young said. ”Every time you face him, it’s going

to be a grind, it’s going to be a battle. … He was on top of his

game tonight.”

It was the fifth career complete game for Weaver (5-0), who

struck out eight with no walks to lower his ERA to 1.23 this

season. The right-hander threw 80 of his 119 pitches for

strikes.

Harrison (3-1) struck out five while allowing three runs and

four hits in his 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander, who left with the

Rangers down 3-1, had allowed only one earned run in each of his

first three starts while pitching at least seven innings each

time.

”I know it’s going to be a close game, I know I have to bring

my pitches,” Harrison said about matching up against Weaver. ”I

made those couple of mistakes, but I pitched well and have got to

keep going. … Tip my hat, he pitched a great game.”

With the victory, Los Angeles took over sole possession of first

place in the AL West. The Angels and Rangers had been tied atop the

division after splitting the first two games of the series.

Except for when the Angels (12-6) 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 (11-7) last

year won their first division title since 1999 after the Angels had

won five of the previous six.

”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, we’ll be fine. We lost two out of

three to Anaheim. It’s April.”

The defending American League champion Rangers have lost six of

eight, dropping series against Detroit, the New York Yankees and

the Angels.

Howie Kendrick and Vernon Wells homered for the Angels, who have

won 11 of their last 14 games.

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

scored.

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.

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.

The Angels then had the bases loaded after Maicer Izturis and

Kendrick drew consecutive two-out walks before struggling Torii

Hunter struck out.

Elvis Andrus had a single in the sixth and scored on Young’s

bloop double to right. That extended Young’s hitting streak to 11

games and cut the deficit in half.

But Mathis had a double in the seventh and scored on a single by

Izturis that made it 3-1 and chased Harrison.

Bourjos, the speedy center fielder, robbed David Murphy of a

home run in the bottom of the seventh. Bourjos leaped at the

warning track and caught the ball with his glove extended above the

eight-foot wall.

”That was awesome,” Weaver said. ”It gave me a lot of

motivation. It was unbelievable.”

Mike Napoli, who spent his first five major league seasons with

the Angels before going to Texas last winter, then hit a double

into the right-center gap beyond the reach of Bourjos. But Weaver

struck out Mitch Moreland to end the inning.

Notes: 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. … 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. … Rangers closer Neftali Feliz, who

hadn’t pitched since Friday, walked three consecutive batters in

the ninth but didn’t give up a run. … Texas has Thursday off,

then plays on 20 consecutive days.