ARLINGTON -- The last time Jered Weaver pitched here, he gave up a season-high eight runs in a season-low 3 1/3 innings while suffering what still stands as his only loss of the season.Weaver was at his All-Star best on Tuesday night, while Derek Holland gave up three home runs, two of them to Albert Pujols, as the Rangers dropped a 6-2 decision to the Angels. After losing the first two games of this four-game series, the Rangers' AL West was cut to three games over the Angels, their slimmest division lead since June 11.
Since that start here in mid-May, Weaver has gone 9-0 with a 1.85 ERA and, after turning in his 14th quality start of the year, the Angels won their 11th straight game when he starts. The Rangers did not score until the seventh but, by then, Weaver had all the run support he would need."I tip my hat to Weaver," manager Ron Washington said. "You have to give Weaver credit. He just kept us off balance. He's a good pitcher. That's why he's 14-1. He can pitch. And he's at his best when he's in trouble. It seems like every time he's in trouble against us, he gets out of it." Weaver retired the first 14 batters he faced before Michael Young's single to right field in the fifth. Mike Napoli walked to lead off the sixth and Mitch Moreland followed with a single up the middle, but the Rangers did not score. It wasn't until David Murphy's two-run double in the seventh, his 17th of the year, that the Rangers pushed any runs across.
But then it was 6-0, as Holland had allowed the two homers to Pujols, plus a two-run shot by Mike Trout."He's a good pitcher. He pitched well and located well," Young said of Weaver. "We've got a talented group and big-time competitors. We just have to keep playing hard. Our morale is fine. We have been through a lot together: big wins, tough losses. Our morale doesn't get affected. We're fine." Before that hit, Murphy had just six hits in 41 career at-bats against Weaver, striking out 10 times. Weaver, who beat the Rangers two starts ago by allowing one run over seven innings in Anaheim on July 20, gave up two runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out three, walked one, and threw 63 of his 97 pitches for strikes as he improved to 3-7 in 15 starts here. "I wanted to go out there and get some early outs and let the defense work," Weaver said. "Any time we can gain some games on these guys, especially in their home park, it's clutch. We're getting down to the nitty-gritty where we need to get some wins going. It's nice to take the first two from these guys." Holland, making his first start since coming off the disabled list July 7, retired the first eight batters he faced and 10 of the first 11. He did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, when Pujols hit his 19th home run of the year, a solo shot with one out. In the sixth, after No. 9 hitter Chris Iannetta walked, Trout added to the Angels lead with a two-run homer, his 18th of the season and 10th of the month, setting an American League rookie record. "He's just making mistakes at the wrong time," Washington said. "In the third inning, the only thing I dislike about Derek was the walk. I thought the ball was down on Trout, he went down and got it. You have to give him credit for that. But it was the walk. Then, he had Albert down 0-2 and tried to go up top. He didn't get high enough. One inning. It was just one inning." Pujols homered for the second straight at-bat two batters after Trout. It was the seventh homer Holland's given up in his last three starts. He was replaced on the mound by Tanner Scheppers after issuing a one-out walk to Trout in the seventh. The next batter, Torii Hunter, doubled over Josh Hamilton's head in center field to extend the Angels' lead to 6-0. "He's definitely turned it around, no doubt aout it," Holland said of Pujols. "He is what he is. He had a slow start but he's picked it up. He's a great hitter. He and Trout are doing a great job picking that team up." Both runs were charged to Holland, who gave up six runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings while striking out five and walking four, tying a season high. Before Tuesday, Holland had walked four batters in his last 25 innings. "I felt very strong out there, but a couple pitches got away," Holland said. "For the most part, I did what I needed to do. I just made a couple of bad pitches. I thought I did a good job executing. A couple pitches got away and they have a good ballclub over there. If you make mistake, they're going to hit it."
Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.