Angels pitcher Jered Weaver injured his left elbow after falling awkwardly… (LM Otero / Associated Press )
ARLINGTON, Texas — There were plenty of aces in the hole Sunday afternoon, as five of the game's best pitchers — Matt Cain, David Price, Cole Hamels, R.A. Dickey and Stephen Strasburg — were torched for 38 earned runs in 241/3 innings.
Jered Weaver followed suit Sunday night. The Angels ace, fighting mechanical issues that seem to have sapped him of some velocity, was knocked around by the Texas Rangers, giving up five runs and seven hits, including two home runs, in five innings of a 7-3 loss at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Ian Kinsler broke open a one-run game in the sixth inning with a three-run home run to right field against Mark Lowe — only the third time the Rangers second baseman with 146 homers has hit one to the opposite field — and Lance Berkman (two-run shot) and David Murphy (solo) homered against Weaver in the first.
The Angels were one for 10 with runners in scoring position, dropping their average to .111 (five for 45) in those situations, and they return home with the same 2-4 record they had after six games in 2012.
But of bigger concern was the right-handed Weaver, who was knocked out of the game by a wicked line drive off the bat of Mitch Moreland in the sixth inning.
Moreland's laser did not actually hit Weaver, but as the pitcher fell to the ground to avoid the ball, he twisted his left elbow. X-rays were negative, but Weaver was diagnosed with an elbow strain that could jeopardize his next start.
"It's pretty painful, swollen, it feels like a bad jam," said Weaver, who struggled to pull his shirt over his head after the game. "I can't really move it right now. Nothing structurally is wrong, which is good. We'll be able to tell more when the swelling goes down."
Weaver's follow-through pulled him toward the first base side of the mound and right into harm's way, as Moreland's liner zipped past his head.
"Knowing you're falling and a bullet is coming at you is tough," Weaver said. "Luckily the ball didn't hit somewhere else on my body, or I'd have some more pain issues going on."
Weaver had issues long before Moreland's liner. He matched a career high with four walks, and it took several innings to find command of his off-speed pitches.
Weaver's fastball, which usually sits in the 89-mph range, was clocked between 84-87 mph. Manager Mike Scioscia said Weaver is physically sound but was "out of sync, fighting through some stuff."
Weaver, who squandered a 2-0 lead by giving up three runs in the first, a Rangers rally that began with a Kinsler walk and included homers by Berkman and Murphy, said his mechanics were off.
"Four walks, falling behind hitters and not being able to locate fastballs when I need to is not like me," Weaver said. "I missed pretty bad with some off-speed pitches. It was one of those starts where you don't have your good stuff and you have to compete."
The same could be said for Rangers starter Yu Darvish, who followed his near-perfect game against Houston with a bend-but-don't-break five-inning, three-run, six-hit effort.
Darvish pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam in the second, striking out Mike Trout and Erick Aybar. With runners on second and third and no outs in the third, he struck out Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick and got Alberto Callaspo to fly out.
"When you strike out 10 times and go one for 10 with runners in scoring position," Scioscia said, "it's going to be tough to absorb."