Angels-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

Jered Weaver has been unbeatable over the last two months. When it comes to pitching in Arlington, however, he could use the support the Los Angeles Angels provided their last starter.

Weaver will go for his eighth straight win and 14th overall Tuesday night when the Angels continue their crucial series against the AL West-leading Texas Rangers.

Los Angeles cut its deficit to four games following Monday night's 15-8 win. Kendrys Morales highlighted a nine-run sixth inning with a grand slam and a two-run homer - becoming the third player in major league history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same inning.

Mike Trout and Maicer Izturis also went deep as the Angels (56-47) broke out for a season high in runs after being shut out in consecutive games by Tampa Bay over the weekend.

"We struggled over the weekend for sure,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. "You're not going to have it clicking every night, but it's good when it happens.''

The AL's ERA leader, Weaver (13-1, 2.26 ERA) has won eight straight decisions, and the Angels have won his last 10 starts. He won his seventh consecutive start Wednesday despite laboring over five innings of an 11-6 win over Kansas City in humid conditions, giving up two runs and striking out eight while throwing 101 pitches.

"It was a rough one," Weaver said. "But we came out on top, which was the most important thing."

Recent trips to Texas have been tough for Weaver, who has posted an 11.15 ERA while losing his last three starts. It has been a career-long trend for him, going 2-7 with a 5.21 ERA lifetime there after allowing a season-high eight runs May 13 and failing to make it out of the fourth inning.

Weaver is trying to become the first Angels pitcher to win eight starts in a row since Chuck Finley won 10 straight from July 1-Aug. 15, 1997. Weaver has split two decisions against the Rangers this year, giving up one run in seven innings of a 6-1 victory July 20.

Elvis Andrus is 22 of 51 with two homers and four doubles against Weaver. Andrus, though, went 0 for 4 Monday and is 1 for his last 15.

Despite the loss, the Rangers (59-42) could build on their offensive effort after going 3 for 7 with runners in scoring position. They had gone 1 for 31 in such instances in their previous three-game series versus Chicago during which they scored nine total runs.

''The offense woke up a little bit tonight,'' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ''Up until the sixth inning it was a very competitive game.''

Josh Hamilton finally showed signs of breaking out of his slump Monday, going 3 for 5 with a homer and a double. Hamilton - 10 for 40 with six doubles and a homer versus Weaver - is hitting .173 in July, dropping his average 31 points to .288

Derek Holland (7-5, 4.74) will face Weaver for the second time in 10 days for Texas. He gave up three runs and two homers in 7 2-3 innings of a 5-3 win over Boston on Wednesday while striking out seven.

The left-hander has given up three or fewer runs in three of his last four starts since coming off the disabled list with shoulder fatigue, although he was tagged for six runs and nine hits, including two homers, in 6 2-3 innings in the July 20 loss to Weaver.