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Playing for pride, Weaver, Angels beat A's

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It's been a rough season for Jered Weaver individually, and for the Los Angeles Angels as a team. All they're playing for now is pride, so they can take something positive with them into the offseason.

Weaver took care of his end of the bargain Wednesday afternoon at Angel Stadium in his final start of the year.

He gave up one run in seven innings and Erick Aybar had three hits to lead the Angels to a 3-1 win over the Oakland A's. Weaver (11-8), who missed his last scheduled start because of a tight right forearm, allowed five hits and one walk while making 92 pitches and helping the Angels win two of three in the series.

Aybar had three singles and an RBI, and Josh Hamilton drove in two runs with an infield single and an RBI fielder's choice, all off A's starter Dan Straily (10-8), who gave up three runs (one earned) and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.

The only run the A's scored against Weaver came in the sixth inning. After singles by Coco Crisp and Eric Sogard, Jed Lowrie hit a sacrifice fly. That run snapped Weaver's consecutive scoreless innings streak against the A's at 29 2/3 innings, going back to 2012.

"I felt good," he said. "You never know coming off 10 days off since getting a start. ... Obviously we're not playing for too much right now but we're still going to go out there and give 'em hell, and try to win ballgames. We're playing good ball right now and hopefully we can carry that into Texas and spoil that a little bit."

Weaver missed seven weeks this season because of a broken left forearm, but he still managed to put up double figures in wins in a season for the eighth time. Only Chuck Finley and Nolan Ryan have recorded eight double-digit win seasons before with the Angels.

"He's evolved as a pitcher as some of his velocity has dropped a tad," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Weaver. "When he first came up (in 2006) there was deception, there was real good life on his fastball. Right now he's adjusting to maybe not pitching at 91 (mph) or 93, but pitching at 87, 88 and he's been terrific. His changeup is one of the best changeups in our league, when he didn't use it as much earlier. His ability to change speeds with his breaking ball ... He's a pitcher. He has enough velocity. He knows what he's doing out there."

That comes as no surprise to the A's, who came into the series hot offensively. They scored 10 runs in the first game of the series but were held to one run over the final two games, getting shut out by Jason Vargas on Tuesday. It marked the first time the A's have lost consecutive games since they lost three straight Aug. 21-23.

"We faced two pretty good pitchers the last two days and offensively didn't do what we had been doing," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I felt like we were a little bit tired the last couple days, playing 33 (games) out of 34 (days). You usually don't want an off-day when you're playing well, but I think probably tomorrow is a good time for one."

The Angels broke through against Straily in the fourth after Aybar singled, stole second and went to third on Kole Calhoun's grounder to second. Hamilton hit a hard grounder to Brandon Moss at first, but his throw home went over catcher Stephen Vogt's head, allowing Aybar to score and give the Angels a 1-0 lead.

The Angels tacked on two runs in the third, with Aybar driving in one with a single and Hamilton beating out an infield hit to drive in the second run of the inning.

Angels closer Ernesto Frieri pitched the ninth and earned his 37th save.

NOTES: Angels OF Mike Trout was not in the starting lineup. It was just a day off for Trout. Scioscia thinks Trout might be getting tired. After playing in 153 games, Trout has one hit in his last 15 at-bats with eight strikeouts. ... With two hits Wednesday, Hamilton extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He's having his best month of the season, hitting .321 (26-for-81) with two homers and 16 RBIs in September. He needs two more hits for 1,000 in his career. ... A's 3B Josh Donaldson got a day of rest and was not in the starting lineup. Donaldson had reached base by hit, walk or hit-by-pitch in 28 consecutive games before going 0-for-4 against Jason Vargas on Tuesday. Albert Callaspo started at third in Donaldson's place. ... Crisp has hit a career-high 22 home runs this season, considerably up from his season average entering this year. He hit 86 homers in his first 11 big league seasons, an average of 7.8 per season. He also has 20 stolen bases, becoming the first A's 20-20 player since Ruben Sierra in 1993.
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