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Rangers hand Angels ace Jered Weaver his first loss

Nelson Cruz hits a third-inning grand slam and Josh Hamilton drives in three runs to lead Texas, 13-6. Weaver doesn't make it through the fourth inning.

May 13, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels starter Jered Weaver waits for a new ball as Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz rounds first base past Albert Pujols after hitting a grand slam in the third inning Sunday evening in Arlington, Texas.
Angels starter Jered Weaver waits for a new ball as Rangers slugger Nelson… (Tony Gutierrez / Associated…)

ARLINGTON, Texas — This wasn't what slugger Mark Trumbo meant Saturday when he said the Angels need to "come out a little angry" and play with a "figurative chip on our shoulder."

Ace Jered Weaver took that suggestion to the extreme Sunday night, flying into a rage upon returning to the dugout after giving up a third-inning grand slam to Nelson Cruz, which helped power the Texas Rangers to a 13-6 romp of the Angels at the Ballpark in Arlington.

"We had a chance to win the series, and I let the team down," said Weaver, who fell to 5-1 with a 2.83 earned-run average but is 2-7 with a 5.21 ERA in 14 career starts in the Rangers' hitter-friendly park. "It's my job to give us a chance to win, and I gave up runs. It's frustrating."

The Angels led, 2-1, on Trumbo's two-run home run to the back of the second deck in left field, a shot that traveled an estimated 437 feet, in the second inning.

But in the third inning, Elvis Andrus, who had his eighth career four-hit game, rolled a one-out double to left field. Weaver struck out hot-hitting Josh Hamilton, but Adrian Beltre hit a run-scoring single to left to make it 2-2.

Michael Young doubled to right field on a 1-and-2 pitch, David Murphy rebounded from an 0-and-2 count to walk, and Cruz hooked a changeup inside the left-field foul pole for a 344-foot grand slam and a 6-2 lead for the Rangers. The four runs on one swing were as many as Weaver had given up in 362/3 innings of his previous five starts.

After Mike Napoli's inning-ending groundout, Weaver removed his hat, hurled his glove against the dugout wall and screamed as he paced the dugout.

"I wasn't able to put guys away when I needed to," a much-calmer Weaver said after the game. "You have to be on your 'A' game against those guys. They don't give you a chance to breathe."

That was evident in the fourth inning, when Hamilton, who had nine homers and 15 runs batted in over his previous six games, came up with runners on second base and third base and one out. The situation begged for an intentional walk, but after a visit from pitching coach Mike Butcher, Weaver opted to pitch to the slugger.

"You load the bases to get to Beltre? What are you going to do?" Weaver said. "They have power up and down the lineup. It's pick your poison, really."

Hamilton stroked a two-out double to right-center field to give Texas an 8-2 lead, and Weaver was pulled, the eight earned runs given up matching a career high. As he walked to the dugout, Weaver sang along to "Hit the Road, Jack," the Ray Charles hit playing on the stadium sound system.

"I wasn't pitching to my capabilities." Weaver said. "It was definitely time to hit the road for me."

Trailing, 10-2, the Angels showed some fight with a three-run seventh inning that featured Vernon Wells' homer and run-scoring singles by Maicer Izturis and Albert Pujols.

Trumbo walked to load the bases, but Andrus ranged behind second base for Howie Kendrick's grounder and, with his glove hand, shoveled the ball to Ian Kinsler at the bag for an inning-ending force out.

Texas countered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning, which featured a single that pushed Hamilton's major league-leading total to 44 runs batted in. The Rangers amassed 19 hits, including four by Cruz.

"That's not a forgiving lineup," Manager Mike Scioscia said, "if you don't hit your spots."

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