Angels 4, Rangers 1

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 last 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 flyball with his glove extended above the

eight-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.

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.