Weaver hits stride, fans five in five strong innings

Angels ace finds groove, allows one hit vs. Rangers

Weaver hits stride, fans five in five strong innings

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels broke through with four runs in the fourth inning to back starter Jered Weaver, and they held on to defeat the Rangers, 5-3, on Monday afternoon at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Chris Iannetta's two-run home run off of Rangers starter Lisalverto Bonilla was the big blow of the inning, which also featured an RBI double by C.J. Cron and an RBI single by Taylor Featherston. Weaver allowed just one run -- a home run by Robinson Chirinos -- in five innings of work. Ryan Rua, who is vying for the Rangers' left field job, added an eighth-inning homer, his first of the spring.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Hustle in left field: Rangers left fielder Ryan Ludwick can hit, but it helps to show he can still play defense. In the third inning, he hustled into the left-field corner on Collin Cowgill's double. Cowgill tried to stretch it into a triple and Ludwick threw him out.

Ludwick throws out Cowgill

Walk starts Bonilla downfall: Bonilla had retired nine of the first 11 batters faced. Then he allowed a four-pitch walk to Matt Joyce and his afternoon started to unravel. Cron doubled and Iannetta hit a two-run home run. Bonilla also gave up a couple of singles and had a throwing error on a pickoff. He left the inning trailing 4-1.

Cron's RBI double

Weaver bounces back: The Angels' ace noticed a mechanical flaw late in his last start against the D-backs, which involved getting too long with his arm motion and throwing off the timing in his delivery. Weaver vowed to apply that to his next outing, and it seemed to work brilliantly. Weaver retired 15 of the 16 Rangers hitters he faced, striking out five, inducing seven weak fly balls and giving up only one solo home run while dropping his Cactus League ERA to 2.53.

Iannetta gets in the mix: Angels catcher Iannetta hit his first home run of the spring on Monday, lining a Bonilla offering over the left-field fence for a two-run homer that highlighted a four-run fourth inning. Iannetta also singled to left field two innings earlier.

Iannetta's two-run homer

Smith fills it up: Angels setup man Joe Smith made his first Cactus League appearance, after nursing some stiffness in his lower half earlier in spring, and threw all 12 of his pitches for strikes in the sixth. Smith got a groundout, gave up a single, recorded a strikeout and jogged back to the dugout after his catcher, Drew Butera, ended the inning with a pickoff.

QUOTABLE

"It's not bad for somebody who doesn't have a fastball. It was good to have something click in between starts, but it's a work in progress. It's not going to come right away. But today was good. There's still some things to work on, timing wasn't there consistently, but it was a lot better than it had been." -- Weaver, on making adjustments and seeing immediate results

"For me, he was working on his offspeed pitches. We saw a lot of sliders, changeups and breaking balls. It's no secret he has lost some velocity, but he is still competing and making good pitches." -- Rangers catcher Chirinos on Weaver

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

• Iannetta ranked 87th out of 105 catchers last year in turning balls into strikes, and he is focused on improving that this spring, saying: "I definitely don't want to be anywhere negative on that. I take a lot of pride in that stuff. I was actually pretty surprised to see that."

• Rangers outfielder Jared Hoying played in four straight games from March 5-8 and was 5-for-10 at the plate. He has since played in four of eight games and was in an 0-for-9 skid until an eighth-inning RBI single on Monday.

Hoying's RBI single

KEYSTONE UPDATE

All four of the players vying for the Angels' starting second base and utility infield job played on Monday, with Josh Rutledge starting at third, Featherston starting at shortstop, Johnny Giavotella starting at second and Grant Green checking in at first base midgame. Rutledge (.226 batting average this spring) went 0-for-3, Featherston (.368) went 1-for-3, Giavotella (.235) went 0-for-3 with a hard lineout and Green (.333) went 0-for-2.

WHAT'S NEXT

C.J. Wilson will make his second Cactus League start, and first in 10 days, when the Angels face the Rockies from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Tuesday. The veteran left-hander was scratched from his last start after tweaking his left knee in pitchers' fielding practice, but threw a bullpen session on Saturday and felt good. Most of the Angels' everyday players -- Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Erick Aybar, Kole Calhoun and David Freese -- were off on Monday, so there's a good chance they'll all play. Game time is 4:10 p.m. ET on MLB.TV and Fox Sports West.

Adrian Beltre will be in the lineup on Tuesday when the Rangers host the Dodgers at 4:05 p.m. ET in Surprise. Beltre will be facing the original team that signed him out of the Dominican Republic over 20 years ago. Beltre is 3-for-17 with one home run in the Cactus League. Yovani Gallardo will be on the mound, followed by Nick Tepesch and Joe Beimel. The Rangers signed Beimel to a free-agent contract 10 days ago and this will be his third outing of the spring.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez.T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.