Angels start fast, blank Indians

CLEVELAND -- Jered Weaver was nearly perfect after weeks of little going his way.

The Los Angeles Angels' ace allowed one baserunner over seven innings to earn his first win in more than a month, beating the Cleveland Indians 7-0 on Wednesday night.

Staked to a 7-0 lead, Weaver (12-11) retired 21 of the 22 batters he faced to snap the longest losing streak of his career at four games. Shin-Soo Choo's two-out single in the fourth was the only blemish.

"It was great to see Jered get some run support," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He has pitched with his back against the wall for the lion's share of the season."

Weaver got more runs than he had in any of his 15 starts since a 12-0 interleague win over the Chicago Cubs on June 19.

"With seven runs, I felt pretty comfortable," Weaver said. "I was able to throw my fastball for strikes, but one ran back over the plate and Choo hit it. He's hit me pretty good."

The sharp single past second baseman Howie Kendrick made Choo 10-for-21 (.476) in his career against Weaver.

Cleveland was shut out for the 15th time, most in the AL.

"Weaver overmatched us," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We weren't even able to get the ball out of the infield against him. He was really good."

The right-hander struck out seven to take over the AL lead with 218, four more than the Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez.

"I don't know if he was as crisp as we've seen him, but he was pretty good," Scioscia said.

The Angels got three singles and three walks off Jeanmar Gomez (3-4) to take a 4-0 lead in the first. Juan Rivera had an RBI single, Kendrick walked with the bases loaded and rookie catcher Hank Conger got his first career hit, a two-run single.

"I never threw to him before, maybe warming up, but not even in a spring training game," Weaver said of Conger, the Angels' top draft pick in 2006 who made his first career start.

"He did a great job, I hardly shook off any of his calls," Weaver continued. "I gave him the game ball."

Conger also got the ball from his first hit. In fact, teammates gave him two of them.

"They gave me a ball and I said, 'Oh, wow, they misspelled my name,'" Conger said. "They all started laughing. It was a fake. I'll give the real one to my dad."

A second-inning throwing error by Indians third baseman Jayson Nix helped Los Angeles go ahead 7-0. Torii Hunter had an RBI single and scored on Hideki Matsui's triple off the wall in center. Rivera singled home Matsui.

Weaver struck out the side in the fifth, throwing 14-of-19 pitches for strikes. It was the type of performance Scioscia expected. Before the game, he expressed confidence in Weaver even though the right-hander had gone 0-4 in six starts since defeating the Detroit Tigers 4-2 on Aug. 6.

"I think right now he's throwing the ball better than any time we've seen him," Scioscia said. "He's really putting pitches together better than he ever has. He's executing them better."

Weaver has pitched at least five innings in 22 consecutive starts and worked 204 innings overall, seven shy of his career high set a year ago.

Michael Brantley's one-out single in the ninth off Angels reliever Matt Palmer extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games, longest by a Cleveland rookie since Cory Snyder hit in 17 straight in 1986. Asdrubal Cabrera then hit into a game-ending double play.

Gomez gave up six earned runs and seven hits over three innings to drop to 0-4 in his five starts. The rookie right-hander had not pitched since Sept. 5, being skipped over in the rotation last week to limit his innings workload. He had pitched 116 innings in the minors and has worked 47 innings for Cleveland.

The last 21 Angels failed to reach base. Gomez retired the final three men he faced and then three Cleveland relievers combined to pitch six perfect innings. Justin Germano struck out four over three innings, Frank Herrmann retired all six men he faced and Jensen Lewis struck out one in the ninth.

Game notes
Acta said right-hander Justin Masterson will start Saturday in Kansas City. Masterson had been moved to the bullpen a week ago to cut down his workload but will replace right-hander Mitch Talbot, who left his start Sunday after 14 pitches with shoulder inflammation. Acta said Talbot will be skipped in the rotation but will likely return for a start the following week. ... Conger, the Angels' No. 1 draft pick in 2006, struck out in his first career at-bat Saturday. ... Matsui has hit .419 (31-for-77) with 19 RBIs since Aug. 14. ... The Indians' Triple-A farm team at Columbus beat Durham 4-0 and lead the best-of-five series for the International League championship 2-0.