Jered Weaver wins 16th as Angels gain on Rangers

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels had to work to fend off the pesky Minnesota Twins, who seem to be enjoying the spoiler role in an injury-plagued season.

Vernon Wells hit a tiebreaking solo homer, Mark Trumbo hit his first career grand slam and Peter Bourjos also went deep, leading the Angels to a 10-6 victory on Saturday night.

The win, coupled with Texas' 12-7 loss at Boston, pulled the Angels within 3 1/2 games of the Rangers in the AL West race with 23 remaining -- including a season-ending three-game series against Texas in Anaheim.

"I think it's something that's well within reach, but we're definitely going to need to play way more consistently than the way we've been doing," Trumbo said. "We've had a number of games recently that we should have taken, like in the Seattle series, and it didn't happen. So if we're going to make a charge, it has to be now."

Weaver (16-7) tied a career high for wins, despite allowing six runs and eight hits over five innings and throwing 111 pitches a day after attending his grandfather's funeral in Oregon.

He dismissed the notion that the past two days had an effect on this performance.

"It was hard yesterday, but I think I'm pretty good at letting stuff go and releasing that stuff once I get out there on the mound and just focusing in," Weaver said. "Obviously, I wasn't real sharp tonight. The Twins made me work and they hit my mistakes, but the story is how these guys picked me up."

Weaver's AL-best 2.28 ERA ballooned to 2.49 after he surrendered six or more runs for the third time in his last five starts -- after allowing no more than four in any of his first 24 outings.

"You really get spoiled watching him do what he does," Trumbo said. "I expect him to go out there each and every night and throw up a ton of zeros. But I'm sure he'll bounce back and do exactly what he's done all year."

The All-Star right-hander pitched on an extra day's rest, after making his previous start on three days' rest for the first time in his six-year career and giving up seven runs over six innings in a 9-5 loss at Texas. It was Weaver's third start since he agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract extension.

"Weaver fell behind a lot and he wasn't around the zone as much as he normally is, so we were able to get into hitter's counts," Twins third baseman Danny Valencia said.

Trevor Plouffe hit a tying three-run double and Valencia homered for the Twins, who have lost 21 of their last 28 games. Last year's AL Central champs are a season-worst 18 1/2 games out of first place and 22 games under .500.

Wells tried to score behind Torii Hunter on Erick Aybar's bases-loaded RBI single in the third, and was thrown out by right fielder Michael Cuddyer to end the inning with the Angels leading 6-3.

But Wells was able to trot around the bases in the fifth on his 19th homer, which came against Phil Dumatrait (1-3) and gave Los Angeles a 7-6 lead. The ball struck the top of the center-field fence and bounced over, as Ben Revere reached for the ball but didn't jump. Revere did make a leaping attempt on Bourjos' leadoff drive to left-center in the sixth off Dumatrait, but the ball cleared the fence by plenty and triggered a three-run rally that included Wells' RBI single.

Trumbo, who leads all rookies with 25 homers, made a mistake in the fourth that led to three runs and helped the Twins tie it at 6. He fielded Revere's one-out grounder a couple of feet from the bag with runners at the corners and quickly threw to the plate, instead of going for a potential inning-ending 3-6-3 double play. Tsuyoshi Nishioka retreated to third, leaving the bases loaded.

"I didn't forget the number of outs, although it may have looked like that," Trumbo said. "I just trusted my reaction. It was a slow-hit ball, and with Revere being as fast as he is, we weren't going to be able to turn two the traditional way. I could have tagged first and gone to second, but I trusted what I heard. I heard a 'four' call (home plate) and that's where I went with the ball."

Plouffe then drove a 3-1 pitch toward the left-field corner with Wells overshifted toward the alley, and all three runners scored.

Twins left-hander Brian Duensing lasted only 37 pitches, leaving with an oblique strain on his right side while pitching to Bourjos with one out and a runner at second. Duensing was charged with five runs and four hits, one of the runs coming on Alberto Callaspo's double against right-hander Lester Oliveros, who inherited a 1-1 count on Bourjos and struck him out.

The Angels staked Weaver to a 4-0 lead just five batters into the first inning. Callaspo and Howie Kendrick singled with one out. Hunter then walked before Trumbo drove an 0-2 pitch over the trees in center field.

"I fell behind 0-2, and that's not the place you want to be in a situation with runners in scoring position," Trumbo said. "But the last time I faced him, I got to 0-2 and hit a three-run homer to center field. So my approach was try and get something I could work with, maybe a little better pitch that I swung at previously."

The Twins responded with three runs in the second, including Valencia's leadoff homer to left-center. Revere and Plouffe had two-out RBI singles before Weaver struck out Jason Kubel.

Game notes
Minnesota C Joe Mauer missed his second straight game due to an upper respiratory infection. ... The Ocean View Little League team from Huntington Beach (Calif.), which won the Little League World Series title last Sunday, was on the field taking their bows. Posing with them for a team photo was Angels C Hank Conger, who played for them in 2000. ... The Angels' only other grand slam was by Wells, against Baltimore's Kevin Gregg on July 22 in a 6-1 win at Camden Yards.