Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo hits a two-run home run during the sixth… (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)
Reporting from Oakland — Mark Trumbo is tiring of all the questions about the American League rookie-of-the-year award, so maybe it was good that Manager Mike Scioscia threw the Angels first baseman a little changeup Wednesday.
Trumbo snapped a tie score in the sixth inning with a two-run home run to propel the Angels toward a 4-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics and ace Jered Weaver, who gave up one run and six hits in seven innings, toward his career-high 17th win.
Trumbo leads AL rookies in home runs (27), runs batted in (82), hits (128), doubles (28) and runs (62), which should give him a good chance to become the first Angel to win rookie-of-the-year honors since Tim Salmon in 1993.
But Scioscia aimed higher.
"If we reach our goal, there's no doubt he has to get some most valuable player consideration," Scioscia said. "If you take him out of our lineup this year, we're not even talking about a pennant race."
That caught Trumbo off guard.
"It's flattering," Trumbo said, stumbling to find words, "but I don't know about that."
Lucky for the Angels, Trumbo was a lot more prepared for the 1-and-2 changeup Rich Harden threw in the sixth inning.
The A's led, 1-0, on the strength of Josh Willingham's solo homer in the third and Harden's five scoreless innings, but Howie Kendrick's leadoff walk in the sixth and Bobby Abreu's run-scoring double to right-center made it 1-1.
Abreu took third on Torii Hunter's groundout, and up stepped Trumbo, who was hitless in 11 at-bats and failed to score a runner from third with fewer than two out in losses to the New York Yankees on Sunday and the A's on Monday night.
When he fell behind in the count, "I told myself I've been here before, I've done it before, just go pitch to pitch," Trumbo said. "I was sitting in between speeds. Be ready for the fastball, but take advantage of an off-speed pitch in the zone I can handle."
Harden grooved one, and Trumbo manhandled it, sending a laser over the left-field wall for a 3-1 lead.
Weaver, who needed 67 pitches to get through the first three innings, retired the side in order in sixth and seventh innings to improve to 17-7 and lower his earned-run average to 2.40.
The right-hander struck out one, walked two and got 15 fly-ball outs. He escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the first and a two-on, one-out jam in the second.
After Willingham's 26th homer, the A's put two on with two out, but Weaver struck out Brandon Allen to end the third.
Weaver threw 115 pitches and is expected to make his next start Sunday in Baltimore on three days' rest. That would put Weaver in line to start the Sept. 28 regular-season finale against Texas on regular rest.
"We'll evaluate some things over the next few days and see how he feels," Scioscia said. "He had to work hard today. By no means was it easy."
Weaver, who has started only once as a major leaguer on short rest, giving up seven runs and eight hits in six innings of a 9-5 loss to Texas on Aug. 28, is ready for the challenge.
"I feel fine," said Weaver, who went seven innings giving up no more than one run for the 17th time this season. "Anything he wants me to do, I'm good with it. Anything I can do to help the team, I'm all for it."