Angels' bullpen survives A's threat; Weaver now 6-0

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Jered Weaver has already pitched himself
into the Los Angeles Angels' record books and impressed a lot of

Weaver went seven strong innings to remain perfect in six
starts, leading the Angels to a 6-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.

"He's a good pitcher," A's first baseman Nick Swisher said.
"There's a reason he's back up here. He's got good control and has
three pretty good pitches. In the seventh inning we were still
stuck on one hit. We had to wake up sometime."

A day after John Lackey retired 27 straight after giving up a
leadoff double, Weaver (6-0) was nearly as impressive. The rookie
right-hander, who took his older brother Jeff's spot in the
rotation and on the team June 30, retired 16 of the last 18 batters
he faced.

"Everybody works off each other," Weaver said. "That's what
makes our rotation pretty strong. It's pretty tough to match what
he did last night so I'm just happy everything went the way it

Weaver, who allowed two hits, became the first Angels pitcher
to win his first six major league starts. He walked two and struck
out five and lowered his earned-run average to 1.12.

"I don't really look at it like a streak or anything," he
said. "I just have to go out there and locate pitches. For the
most part I've been doing that. I'm sure there's going to be some
adjustments somewhere along the line but for now I'm going to pitch
to my strengths."

Maicer Izturis had three hits, including his first home run in
nearly a year, as the Angels crept within three games of the AL
West-leading A's, the closest they've been since May 12. Chone Figgins had four hits, drove in a run and stole two bases.

"Guys have been swinging the bat all year," Figgins said.
"What makes a good team good is the ability to overcome the

Juan Rivera also homered for the Angels, who have won seven of
eight. Orlando Cabrera and Mike Napoli also drove in runs.

Joe Blanton (8-8) lost his first game to a division rival in six
starts and fell to 0-4 against the Angels, his worst record versus
any team. He lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits.
He walked three and struck out five.

"They hit some good pitches and I made some mistakes," Blanton

Brendan Donnelly started the eighth and gave up four singles,
with Swisher driving in a run, before leaving with the bases loaded
and two outs.

Francisco Rodriguez gave up a two-run single to Frank Thomas and
a run-scoring single to Jay Payton in the eighth. He struck out
Bobby Crosby with two runners on to end the inning and pitched the
ninth for his 20th save in 22 chances.

Tommy Murphy, a late addition to the lineup, also contributed
with a pair of outstanding plays in center field. He made a sliding
catch of Crosby's short fly and doubled off Thomas at first to end
the second, and crashed into the wall in left-center one step after
catching up to Bobby Kielty's deep fly to open the third.

Murphy replaced Garret Anderson, who was scratched with
tightness in his left hamstring -- the same injury that kept him out
of Friday night's game.

The A's were limited to two hits -- both by Mark Kotsay -- over a
50-batter span the past two games until Payton singled with two
outs in the seventh.

Izturis' first home run since Aug. 27 -- and third of his career
-- gave the Angels a 2-0 lead in the third. With two outs, Figgins
tripled and Izturis hit a 1-2 offering from Blanton into the
left-field bleachers.

"I'm a player with very little strength considering the other
guys here," Izturis said through an interpreter. "I just think
contact. I hit the ball in front of me and the ball carried well."

Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly and Napoli doubled home a run to
make it 4-0 in the fifth.

Figgins singled home a run in the sixth and Rivera hit his 11th
homer, a solo shot off Chad Gaudin, in the seventh.

Game notes
Thomas moved past Mickey Mantle into 43rd place with 1,511
RBI. ... Figgins has 23 steals against the A's, his most against
any team. ... Angels 3B Dallas McPherson and 1B Casey Kotchman are
within a week or two of beginning rehab assignments. ... A's OF
Milton Bradley went 4-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI in a
rehab assignment with Sacramento of the PCL. ... Rodriguez has 10
saves against the A's, his most against any team. ... A's 3B Eric
Chavez snapped an 0-for-25 streak with runners in scoring position
with his eighth inning single.