Weaver shown early exit by Rangers

Weaver shown early exit by Rangers

Weaver shown early exit by Rangers
ARLINGTON -- As Jered Weaver was making his final walk back to the Angels' dugout, after completing one of the worst starts of his career, Rangers Ballpark played the customary Ray Charles track that always marks such occasions around these parts.

Hit the road, Jack, and don't you come back no more no more no more no more. Hit the road, Jack, and don't you come back no more.

Weaver couldn't help but mouth the words as he made his exit.

He did, after all, agree with the theme.

"That's exactly what I needed to do was hit the road," Weaver said. "It was obviously not what you want to do going out into a game. I wasn't pitching to my capabilities and it was definitely time for me to hit the road at that point."

Weaver had just completed a 3 1/3-inning outing in which he gave up eight runs on 10 hits to the most lethal lineup in baseball, putting the Angels in a hole they were never able to crawl out of in a 13-6 loss to the first-place Rangers on Sunday night.

Now, the Angels will hit the road collectively, flying back to Anaheim after losing two of three in the weekend set, being outscored, 25-13, in the process and falling to eight games back in the American League West.

The Rangers -- AL leaders in almost all major offensive categories -- cranked out 19 hits, got a Nelson Cruz grand slam, had a five-run third inning and scored at least two runs in four frames in the series finale.

As Weaver already knew, they can hit.

"They're not the best offense in the league right now for no reason," he said.

"You have to be on your 'A' game against these guys. They don't give you a chance to breathe. You have to be pretty fine with all your pitches, and that wasn't the case tonight."

Weaver was as dominant as you can get heading in, giving up nine runs in 50 2/3 innings, allowing just one run in his last 23 frames, throwing a no-hitter and being named AL Player of the Week just six days ago.

But on Sunday, he tied his personal high with eight earned runs (done three other times in his seven-year career), had his shortest start since Aug. 14, 2009, and surrendered 10 hits for the first time since June 8, 2010.

With that start, Weaver's record went to 5-1 and his ERA jumped from 1.60 to 2.83. He's now 2-7 with a 5.21 career ERA at Rangers Ballpark.

"You have to be pretty good coming into this place," he said. "These guys are pretty good at home. That's been proven. They've got a good ballclub over there, man."

Weaver's team, of course, already knew that. Back-to-back AL pennants is as much assurance as you need. But this was the year the Angels -- after signing Albert Pujols, taking C.J. Wilson and getting back Kendrys Morales, who homered in the ninth inning -- were supposed to fight them for the division crown.

The Rangers (23-12) have had a vice grip on the AL West since the start of April, though. They've won four straight series, have matched their best 35-game start in franchise history and have dropped back-to-back games only once.

The Angels haven't been at .500 since 2-2 and, despite squeaking out Saturday's game, looked overmatched in their first series against the team they're continually chasing.

"Bottom line is we have to go out there and get it done," said Mark Trumbo, who hit a two-run homer and is one of few producing in the Angels' lineup. "Talk is talk. We have to start playing the way we're capable of."

Adrian Beltre drove in the Rangers' first two runs, with a sacrifice fly in the first and a run-scoring single in the third. Three batters later, Cruz uncorked a grand slam off Weaver -- representing just the fourth grand slam Weaver has given up in his career, and first to a right-handed hitter -- to give the Rangers a 6-2 lead.

Then, with runners on second and third and one out in the fourth, the Angels decided to pitch to the red-hot Josh Hamilton, who already has 18 homers but had struck out in five of his previous six at-bats, and the Rangers' star outfielder made them pay, lacing a two-run double into the right-center-field gap to balloon Texas' lead to six and take Weaver out of the game.

"You're going to load the bases to get to who?" Weaver said. "To get to Adrian Beltre? What are you going to do? They have power up and down their lineup. There's no chance to breathe."

"He'd gotten him the first two times pretty good," Rangers manager Ron Washington added. "Why wouldn't you try to get him again? He got a pitch up."

With Rangers starter Neftali Feliz out of the game, the Angels' offense, which came in ranked 23rd in the Majors in runs per game, began to crawl back in the seventh, making it a 10-5 game on a solo homer from Vernon Wells and RBI singles by Maicer Izturis and Albert Pujols. But with the bases loaded and two out, Koji Uehara got Howie Kendrick to bounce into an inning-ending fielder's choice at second, converted on a nifty glove flip by shortstop Elvis Andrus.

The Rangers then got three more runs in the bottom half. Just for good measure.

"We'll turn the page on this one," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, whose club has lost 10 of its last 13 to the Rangers dating back to last year. "They had a great night in the batter's box, and we're going to have to pick it up and keep moving forward."

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