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Angels ace Weaver toes rubber against Rangers

Jered Weaver aims to win his eighth straight start and tries to get the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim even closer to the top of the American League West standings on Wednesday when they continue a four-game set with the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Weaver won his eighth consecutive decision on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals, as he surrendered two runs and three hits in five innings. He did walk a pair, but also struck out eight batters and improved to 13-1 to go along with the best ERA in the league at 2.26.

"It was definitely a battle out there, but the story of the day was the offense," Weaver said. "They came and they swung the bats and gave me a little leeway. It was a little struggle as far as the command goes, but I was able to make some outs when I needed to."

Weaver is trying to become the first Angels pitcher to win eight starts in a row since Chuck Finley won 10 straight from July 1-Aug. 15, 1997.

The Angels have won the last 10 times Weaver has pitched.

Weaver beat the Rangers the last time he faced them, but his lone loss this season came in Arlington back on May 13 when he was rocked for eight runs in just 3 1/3 innings. In fact he has lost his last three starts there and is just 2-7 lifetime at Rangers Ballpark with a 5.21 ERA.

"You just come to realize that you're going to have games like that and you have to get over it as soon as possible," Weaver said of his last Texas start. "If you dwell on it, that's when things start going awry. Not all of them are going to be good."

The Angels moved within four games of the Rangers in Monday's opener, as Kendrys Morales hit two home runs from opposite sides of the plate in the same inning, including a grand slam, and had six RBI in a nine-run sixth to lead Los Angeles to a 15-8 win.

Morales became just the third player all-time to homer from both sides of the plate in the same inning, joining Carlos Baerga (1993) and Mark Bellhorn (2002).

"His last 100 at-bats he hasn't been driving the ball and hasn't been swinging like he can, so it's definitely good to see. Tonight we needed it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said about Morales.

Mike Trout added a two-run home run, four RBI and three runs scored, while Maicer Izturis also went deep and scored three times for the Angels, who snapped a two-game slide.

Ervin Santana (5-10) allowed three runs on four hits and a walk over five innings to receive his first win in his last six starts. Jerome Williams tossed the final four innings of the game for LA to earn his first career save.

Roy Oswalt (3-2) surrendered eight runs on 11 hits through 5 1/3 innings for Texas, which has dropped seven of its last 11.

Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli homered in defeat.

Getting the call for the Rangers tonight will be lefty Derek Holland, who has won three of his last four decisions. Holland beat the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, as he allowed three runs and five hits in 7 2/3 innings to improve to 7-5, while lowering his ERA to 4.74.

Holland lost to Weaver two starts ago and is 5-4 in 10 starts versus the Angels with a 5.27 ERA.

"We know how big this series is," Holland said. "It's our rival. We've got to go out there and just play Texas baseball."

The Angels are 6-4 against the Rangers this season.