Weaver, Angels leave Texas with win

Weaver, Angels leave Texas with win

ARLINGTON -- Common wisdom dictates the channeling of one's emotions, but Jeff Weaver has found it better to just get mad.

The opening to Weaver's career with the Angels has been decidedly rocky, with seven losses in his first nine starts, and both Weaver and the club have been knocking their heads together to try and figure a way to get the right-hander back on target.

They studied his mechanics and parked him in front of video screens to view past successes in the hope of unlocking a secret, all while urging him to stop overthrowing.

But one simple home run may have provided the difference, so when Brad Wilkerson went deep, Weaver let loose with language suited only for the ballfield and responded with his best string of innings this season as the Angels scored an 8-5 win over the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon.

"After Wilkerson's home run, you saw a junkyard dog where he was getting after it," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He got his command, and you saw everything pick up in his game. He got an edge and he just kept getting after it."

It was the Angels' 10th win in their last 12 games against the Rangers, and they improved their mark over their divisional rival to 25-9 in their last 34 games.

"They're a good club. They play well. They play fundamentally sound," Scioscia said. "They pitch well and we have to play well to beat them."

But the difference turned out to be Weaver, who entered Wednesday's game with a .325 opponents' batting average and had allowed 15 earned runs in his last 14 1/3 innings.

Against the Rangers, Weaver had been staked to a 2-1 lead on the strength of Dallas McPherson's two-run homer in the top of the second. But he opened the bottom half of the inning by allowing Kevin Mench to drill a double off the left-field wall, then he had Wilkerson in a 1-2 hole before the Rangers left fielder took him deep to right to fall a run behind.

Weaver then immediately walked Mark DeRosa. But a double play, which came when Weaver fanned Jason Botts and Jose Molina threw out DeRosa trying to steal second, seemingly provided some newfound motivation.

"I was waiting to get my butt kicked," Weaver said. "After the homer, something just clicked in my head. I stayed aggressive instead of trying to make pitches just to make pitches."

Where prior attention had been given to pull back on his effort, Weaver rediscovered using anger to his advantage and forged ahead.

"It hasn't been mechanics. I've thrown strikes. I've thrown the ball where I wanted it. It's all been mental," Weaver said. "Hitters can feel when you're going through the motions and wandering around out there. Something goes haywire. Hopefully, this will carry over to something."

Weaver (2-7) allowed three runs on five hits and two walks, striking out five, to pick up his first win since April 22. Hector Carrasco followed with two scoreless innings, and Francisco Rodriguez allowed a two-run homer to DeRosa in a non-save situation used simply to get the closer some work.

Robinson Tejeda (1-2) allowed five runs on six hits and three walks, striking out three, to take the loss.

Providing some punch in more ways than one was McPherson, who went 2-for-4 on Wednesday and scored in the Angels' four-run fourth inning by laying out Rangers catcher Gerald Laird.

McPherson drove in Tim Salmon with his second home run of the year when he drilled a 2-2 pitch from Tejeda off the second-deck facade in right.

After singling to right and advancing to second base on a dropped third strike by Laird in the fourth, McPherson rounded third on Kennedy's single to left.

Salmon, who walked to lead off the inning, trotted home, but McPherson lowered his shoulder and leveled Laird as the Rangers catcher was trying to field the throw from Wilkerson.

The ball rolled away, and McPherson crawled back to the plate and tagged it with his hand, not unlike White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who drew a punch from Cubs catcher Michael Barrett after a collision at U.S. Cellular Field last weekend.

"I was just glad to get there," McPherson said, drawing a distinction.

McPherson realized that he had no other choice coming down the line.

"I was reading him, and I could tell by the way he was setting up [that] there would be a play," McPherson said. "He was guarding the plate, and that was the only way I was going to score."

McPherson went 4-for-13 in the series, with two extra-base hits and five strikeouts. The numbers don't suggest an immediate breakout, but the third baseman can sense that he's feeling more comfortable at the plate with each at-bat.

"Hopefully, I'm able to do something with it," McPherson said. "I'm seeing the ball well, but I can always get better. I've felt worse, though."

Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.