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LAA@TEX: Weaver goes the distance for his fifth win

ARLINGTON -- Something had to give when the Angels' Jered Weaver and the Rangers' Matt Harrison took unbeaten records to the mound on Wednesday night at Rangers Ballpark.

What gave was Texas' share of the American League West lead.

The Angels prevailed, 4-1, in front of 31,967, claiming the first series of the season between the division powers who have ruled the AL West for six of the past seven seasons.

The power of Howard Kendrick and Vernon Wells and electrifying speed and athleticism of Peter Bourjos were primary weapons in support of Weaver's complete-game gem.

The co-ace with Dan Haren, Weaver became the Majors' first five-game winner with another dominant effort. Combined, the duo is 9-0.

Weaver was touched for six hits, striking out eight without issuing a free pass.

"It's awesome to go the distance, and to not walk people in this park is huge," Weaver said. "They've got a good lineup, even without Josh [Hamilton].

"Any time you can manufacture some runs and take two out of three in this park, it's a plus."

Weaver's 39 strikeouts lead the Majors, a distinction he owned last season. The complete game was the fifth of his career.

Not since Oakland's Dave Stewart in 1990 has a pitcher gone 5-0 in his team's first 18 games.

"I'll let my family tell me about that," Weaver said, grinning. "It takes a lot to get off to a start like this. The guys have been playing really well."

Bourjos made another spectacular catch, leaping and slamming against the wall in center in the seventh to take a potential home run away from David Murphy.

"That catch was awesome," Weaver said, who walked toward second base and pumped his fist in salute to Bourjos. "It gave me a lot of motivation. That was right up there with the best ones I've seen, for sure.

"It caught me off guard, the way he went up and caught it. It was stunning. Maybe he's becoming the Kobe [Bryant] of baseball."

The next hitter, former Angels slugger Mike Napoli, doubled beyond Bourjos' grasp. But Weaver struck out Mitch Moreland to end the threat.

Bourjos was playing Murphy straightaway and was off with the crack of the bat to the spot where he anticipated the ball landing. He snatched it off the top of the wall.

"Going up against the wall, I was kind of like, 'How did I get here?'" Bourjos said. "It wasn't until I came down with it that I thought I had it. I was pretty excited about it."

Harrison was duly impressed from the Texas dugout.

"That guy is white lightning out there," the southpaw said.

Kendrick gave Weaver the upper hand leading off the fourth inning when he lifted his sixth homer of the season to left field. The AL leader in total bases, Kendrick already is four homers away from matching his career high for a season.

Wells pounded his first homer with the Angels in the eighth inning against reliever Darren O'Day.

Weaver worked out of a disturbance in the third inning thanks in part to the deterrent represented by Bourjos' blazing speed.

After Moreland doubled with one away, Yorvit Torrealba stroked a line drive to center. Moreland stopped in his tracks midway to third and took several steps toward second before realizing Bourjos couldn't reach it. Moreland had no choice but to stay at second on the single.

Weaver then struck out Ian Kinsler and retired Elvis Andrus on a forceout.

"One thing we're doing well," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said in the afterglow, "is pitching and playing terrific defense. As far as stealing home runs, he had to go a long way to get there and get way up there to make that catch."

Bourjos, who walked in his first at-bat and was stranded at third, demonstrated why Moreland was so cautious when he sprinted to third on a drive to right-center with one out in the fifth. It was Bourjos' second triple of the year and his third extra-base hit in two nights.

When Jeff Mathis dropped a squeeze bunt in front of the plate, Harrison tried to scoop a throw home and booted it for an error. Mathis was given an RBI on the sacrifice and got as far as third after a pair of walks, but Harrison struck out Hunter.

Weaver had retired 10 in a row in the sixth when Andrus singled with two away and scored when Michael Young -- extending his hitting streak to 11 games -- dropped a double inside the right-field line. Adrian Beltre popped out to end the inning.

"What makes him so good," Moreland said of Weaver, "is he can throw any pitch in any count. You get in a hitter's count and he can throw his curveball or changeup, and he's just as confident with that as he is with his fastball.

"When you have a guy like that, you just have to dig in and bear down and try to work an at-bat."

In the seventh, Mathis doubled to right-center and scored when Maicer Izturis' sharp grounder bounced off the glove of Beltre at third and rolled into shallow left field.

The three earned runs allowed by Harrison in 6 2/3 innings matched the number he'd yielded in 22 innings over his first three outings.

The Angels, who won five of six on the road trip, return home to face the Red Sox in a four-game series starting Thursday night.

"They do have pitching," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "They have some guys that play baseball, too."

Idle on Thursday, Texas welcomes the Royals Friday night for a weekend series. Comments