Jered Weaver sharp in tuneup for possible All-Star start

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- After mowing down the AL's meekest offense in his final start before the All-Star Game, Jered Weaver is cautiously optimistic his next start will be against the NL's biggest bats.

Weaver pitched a six-hitter for his 11th victory, and fellow All-Star selection Howie Kendrick extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a run-scoring double in the Los Angeles Angels' 11th win in 14 games, 5-1 over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night.

Weaver (11-4) tuned up for a possible start in the All-Star Game with his eighth career complete game and his fifth straight victory during a nine-game stretch without a loss. He gave up just one walk and stuck out six in his fourth complete game already this season, cementing his spot among the majors' elite starters with every pitch.

"Weave is clearly in that group, and not only in our league," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You talk about all of baseball, and there's not much doubt he's solidly in that top five, and that's quite a group to be in."

Bobby Abreu and Vernon Wells also drove in runs during a three-run third inning for the Angels against hard-luck Seattle starter Doug Fister (3-10), who yielded seven hits over six innings in his seventh straight winless start. Abreu's RBI was the 1,300th of his career.

Weaver is a leading candidate to start for the AL in Tuesday's All-Star Game, which falls right on his scheduled day to pitch. Much of the season has worked out with similar fortunate timing for the Angels' lanky right-hander, who has been dominant after struggling with poor run support throughout 2010.

Weaver also made the All-Star team last year as a late replacement, but wasn't allowed to pitch in his home ballpark because he started on the previous Sunday. That same rule could work to his advantage this year.

"There's a lot of guys that are deserving (of the start), but obviously there's a lot of guys that can't pitch in that game because of (the rule), so that gives me a little better chance," Weaver said of the other starting candidates -- including Detroit's Justin Verlander, Tampa Bay's James Shields and Yankees ace CC Sabathia, who are all slated to start Sunday. "It would be cool, no doubt about it. It would be very gratifying, for sure."

After getting into trouble in the third inning, Weaver stranded two runners in scoring position on the way to retiring 12 straight Mariners in the middle innings. Seattle got two more runners on base in the seventh, but Weaver struck out Carlos Peguero to end it.

"(Weaver) was good again tonight, but we did have some opportunities," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "That's where we need to do a better job. When you let a guy like that off the hook, you never know when you're going to get your next opportunity, and he was able to take it from there."

Weaver easily finished the ninth inning, although it meant Angels rookie closer Jordan Walden didn't pitch after getting selected for the All-Star Game earlier in the day.

"You can't take any team for granted," Weaver said of the Mariners, whose offense has sputtered all season. "I always say I'm just one piece of this five-man rotation. ... It's fun to see everybody playing together, doing everything to score runs."

Brendan Ryan had an early RBI double for the Mariners, who lost their second straight in the opener of a key four-game series for the tight AL West race before the All-Star break.

Fister's rough summer continued, although the right-hander gave up more than one run for the first time since June 14. The native of central California is 0-5 in his past seven starts despite a 2.89 ERA.

"There were some struggles there in the third inning," Fister said. "Kept the ball up a little bit, and they were able to capitalize."

Weaver's 2010 season resembles Fister's 2011 so far: The Mariners right-hander entered the game with the lowest average run support in the AL (2.19 runs).

Peter Bourjos added an RBI double in the eighth inning, but the Angels' speedy center fielder immediately left the game in pain after straining his right hamstring while stopping awkwardly at second base. Scioscia said Bourjos might play only sparingly in the final three games before the break, indicating he probably wouldn't start Friday.

Vernon Wells had a sacrifice fly in the third inning, and Jeff Mathis added an RBI single after Bourjos' run-scoring double in the eighth.

Game notes
Third baseman Kyle Seager made his major league debut for the Mariners, striking out against Weaver in his first at-bat in the second inning and finishing 0-for-4. ... The Angels held a pregame moment of silence for Dick Williams, the veteran manager who died earlier Thursday. Williams managed the Angels for parts of three seasons from 1974-76, enduring the worst stretch of an otherwise successful managerial career immediately after he won two World Series with the Oakland Athletics. The California Angels finished sixth in the AL West during his first two seasons, and he was replaced by Norm Sherry after a 39-57 start in 1976.