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Weaver gives Angels a shot in arm

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- Just after the Los Angeles Angels lost another starting pitcher, they appeared to have regained their ace.

Jered Weaver rebounded from several mediocre performances with seven strong innings in the Angels' 3-1, 10-inning victory over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday at Comerica Park. He held the Tigers to one run on four hits and struck out six in a 102-pitch performance, helping his club complete a three-game sweep.

Weaver, who missed more than seven weeks after suffering a broken left arm on April 7, surrendered at least four or more runs in his last three starts without lasting more than six innings.

"It's something to build off of, something to take into the next start," he said. "It's definitely a confidence boost. The name of the game is going out there with confidence and I'm never going to stray away from that."

The Angels need Weaver, who is 1-4 with a 4.15 ERA, to string together some strong outings after losing two of their starters in the past two weeks. Jason Vargas is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot in his armpit. Tommy Hanson joined Vargas on the disabled list on Thursday after he was scratched from his scheduled start on Wednesday with a right forearm strain.

It was Weaver's first start at Comerica since he was ejected July 31, 2011, for throwing a pitch over the head of Tigers catcher Alex Avila.

"Regardless of what happens to the rest of our rotation, we need Jered to get into his game," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's how important he is to us. Today, as the game went on, he got sharper. He maintained his fastball and really finished strong. We're very confident he's going to pitch more like he did today, as opposed to a couple of his starts before."

Albert Pujols delivered the big hit, a go-ahead double in the top of the 10th inning. Mike Trout had four hits for the Angels, who have beaten the Tigers nine straight times, including these three at Comerica Park. Kevin Jepsen (1-2) pitched one inning of scoreless relief and Ernesto Frieri posted his 19th save.

J.B. Shuck led off the 10th with a single off Phil Coke (0-5) and went to third on a Trout single. Pujols followed with his blast to the center-field wall. Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson nearly made a basket catch on the play.

"(Jackson) doesn't miss many that stay in the park, but I could see it dropped out," Scioscia said. "That ball was crushed and the wind brought it back."

Josh Hamilton followed an intentional walk to Howie Kendrick with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.

Detroit's bullpen has been in flux and Coke's continued struggles have manager Jim Leyland worried. Coke, expected to be the main left-hander in the bullpen, has a 6.56 ERA to go along with his five losses.

"Phil Coke didn't have a good day," he said. "We've got to get Coke going, because if we don't, we're in trouble. We need Coke to be good for us."

Coke said he's not injured, just frustrated with his results. The Central Division-leading Tigers dropped to seven games above .500 after going 4-6 on their homestand, allowing second-place Cleveland to pull within two games before the Indians' game at Baltimore.

"I'm annoyed right now," Coke said. "How do you think I feel? I'm not excited about what I've done this season for this team. We're way too good to be where we are in the standings overall and record-wise. Our bullpen's too good. We just haven't clicked and I haven't clicked."

Tigers starter Doug Fister matched Weaver through the first seven innings, allowing seven hits and striking out four. Miguel Cabrera doubled in the third, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.

NOTES. Trout's four hits gave him an American League-best 37 in June. ... LHP Michael Roth was recalled from Double-A Arkansas to replace Hanson on the 25-man roster. Roth was 2-2 with a 3.61 ERA in 10 appearances with Arkansas. ... Kendrick made just his second start in the cleanup spot in 880 career games and went 0-for-4 with an intentional walk. ... Detroit begins an 11-game road trip at Tampa Bay on Friday, and Los Angeles plays a weekend series at Houston. ... Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez, who is on the disabled list with a right forearm strain, threw 40 pitches off the mound on Thursday. Sanchez will have another throwing session on Monday and hopes to return next weekend. ... Los Angeles' Alberto Callaspo extended his hitting streak to 12 games with two singles.
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