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BALTIMORE (AP) — After some early season struggles, Jered Weaver has found his command.
Weaver allowed one run and three hits while pitching into the eighth inning, leading the Los Angeles Angels past the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 on Friday night. The right-hander has put together two straight impressive outings that have him back on track as the Angels' ace.
Albert Pujols hit his sixth home run for Los Angeles, which has won seven of nine, including a season-high four straight. Weaver let his defense do most of the work against the Orioles' lineup and struck out three with just one walk.
Weaver (2-4) was coming off a shutout against the Astros and held the Orioles scoreless before J.J. Hardy led off the eighth with a homer.
"I think mechanically I was a little better last time," Weaver said. "I didn't start figuring things out mechanically until about the fourth or fifth. I was able to keep those guys off the bases for the most part. I was able to get some outs. Defense played well."
Huston Street pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his 12th save.
Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (1-2) had an effective outing for Baltimore overshadowed by Weaver. He allowed two runs and seven hits and tied a season high with seven strikeouts with a walk over seven innings. It was the fifth time this season that Chen allowed two runs or fewer and didn't earn a victory.
"Overall, I felt pretty good," Chen said. "Well, there was those bumpy innings in the first two, but luckily I made adjustments."
Pujols gave the Angels a 1-0 lead in the first with a two-out homer to left on a 92-mph fastball by Chen. Los Angeles added another run an inning later when Erick Aybar led off with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Perez.
"That was a tough lineup for a left-handed pitcher," Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "Wei-Yin was really good."
Weaver retired 13 of the first 15 batters he faced before his error allowed Hardy to reach second in the fifth. Weaver got out of the inning by getting Rey Navarro on a popout and striking out Caleb Joseph.
"His stuff tonight was better tonight than we saw early in the season, but he really lit it up last time. It was his command," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think he was able to get the fastball into good spots, brought all his pitches into the game. He was very pitch-efficient and command was a big reason for that. He just kept those guys off-balance all game."
Hardy, who had two hits, pulled the Orioles to within a run and ended Weaver's night. Joe Smith got out of the eighth after allowing a single to Manny Machado, who reached base for a career-high 20 straight games.
The Angels added an insurance run in the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Johnny Giavotella.
"Hardy got me there with the home run," Weaver said. "It's not too much of a flyball pitcher's ballpark. I was just trying to keep it on the ground as much as possible."
The Angels' starting pitchers are 4-0 with a 1.61 ERA over their last five games. Weaver lowered his ERA from 6.29 to 4.44 over his past two outings.
Angels: There were no injury updates.
Orioles: C Matt Wieters (right elbow) will join the team next weekend in Miami before potentially beginning a rehab start. Wieters remains on schedule to come off the DL on June 4.
Angels: Matt Shoemaker (2-3) looks to bounce back after allowing a season-high six runs in three innings in a 6-5 loss to Houston on May 9.
Orioles: Bud Norris was scratched from his scheduled start because of an illness. Ubaldo Jimenez was moved up a day to replace him. Norris could still pitch Sunday if he feels better, manager Buck Showalter said.
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