Trout has 2 HRs, Weaver wins 17th for Angels
Sep. 14, 2014
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels can almost taste it now.
Jered Weaver earned his AL-leading 17th win, Mike Trout homered twice, and the AL West leaders reduced their magic number for clinching the division title to four with a 5-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
Any combination of Angels victories and Seattle Mariners losses totaling four will give Los Angeles its sixth division title under manager Mike Scioscia and first since 2009, when the team won its third in a row.
The Angels extended their winning streak to 10 games — one off the franchise record set in 1964 — improving to a major league-best 93-55. They had scored at least seven runs in each of their previous eight contests, tying a club record set in 1979.
"The offense is clicking and the pitching staff's been unbelievable," Trout said. "We give them a comfortable lead and they go out there and pitch. That's probably the best I've seen Weave in a while. I see him working hard every day, trying to get that velocity back, and it came back today for sure."
This was Weaver's 32nd start this season — and only the third in which Trout homered. The All-Star center fielder, who has a career-high 34 home runs, also did it on opening night at home against Seattle's Felix Hernandez, and on Aug. 24 at Oakland against reliever Jesse Chavez.
"We've kind of given him a hard time about that. It seems like he always hit home runs when I'm not pitching," Weaver said with a grin. "But regardless of the home runs, he's done more than enough in the games that I've pitched. That's for sure.
"It's no surprise what he's done so far," he added. "I mean, we've seen what he's done the last few years at such a young age. He's our guy. Obviously, there's some great guys around him as well, but he's taken the league by storm and he's maintaining it. So nothing he does surprises me anymore."
Weaver (17-8) allowed a run and four hits through seven innings with a season-high 12 strikeouts, his 13th career double-digit game. The three-time All-Star is 10-2 with a 3.35 ERA over his last 17 starts.
"Year after year, we've seen Weave come out and be the lead dog," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Tonight his stuff was exceptional. I don't know if I've seen Weave throw like this for about five years. He had great life on his fastball. That was one of the best games he's pitched in a long time."
Huston Street pitched for the first time since Sept. 6, working a scoreless ninth for his 14th save after missing five games with a hamstring problem.
Scott Feldman (8-11) allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings for Houston. Jose Altuve had two hits including an RBI double, and is six hits away from Craig Biggio's 1998 franchise record of 210.
Trout hit an opposite-field drive to right-center in the first inning, then homered over the trees in center leading off the third for his third career multihomer game.
"He's a great player and got me a couple times there," Feldman said. "It turned out to be enough with the way Weaver was throwing. He seemed was on his game pretty well the whole night, and I obviously gave those up two home runs. So that was the game right there."
Weaver and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw — who is in a four-way tie for the most wins in the NL — have a chance to pull off a rare feat. Only six times since 1929 have two pitchers from the same market led their respective leagues in victories during the same season. The last time it happened was 1985, when the Yankees' Ron Guidry won 22 games and the Mets' Dwight Gooden won 24.
Astros: OF George Springer (left quadriceps strain) became the sixth player on the team to miss at least 50 games because of a single injury. Reliever Josh Zeid will reach that figure four games from now. He is out for the rest of the season because of operations on both feet.
Angels: LF Josh Hamilton missed his ninth consecutive game because of a sore right shoulder. No. 5 hitter Howie Kendrick has started in the cleanup spot for Hamilton during this entire stretch, going 20 for 40 with two homers and 13 RBIs.
Astros: Dallas Keuchel (10-9, 3.06 ERA) is 5-16 with a 4.93 ERA in 32 career starts after the All-Star break, compared to 14-11 with a 3.67 ERA in 33 starts before the break. He leads the AL with five complete games this season, one fewer than major league leader Clayton Kershaw, and he has the best ground ball-to-flyball ratio in the majors (3.51).
Angels: Hector Santiago (5-7, 3.38 ERA) is 5-0 with a 2.65 ERA in his last 14 appearances, including 12 starts. Two of those victories came in relief.