ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Consistency and eating up innings has always been Jered Weaver’s focus.
The three-time All-Star pitched into the eighth inning to win his third straight decision, Kole Calhoun hit his second big league homer in as many days, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 Saturday night.
Weaver was sidelined for more than seven weeks after breaking a bone in his non-pitching arm in his second start of the season. He already has as many losses as he had all of last season – when he became the Angels’ first 20-game winner since Bartolo Colon in 2005 and pitched his first career no-hitter.
“My goals for the rest of the season are just as they were if I wouldn’t have gotten hurt,” Weaver said. “I’m just trying to go out there and win ballgames, try to get us as deep into the game as possible and throw up zeros. There’s nothing I can do about the time I lost. You’ve just got to make up for lost time.”
Weaver (6-5) allowed three runs, seven hits and two walks through 7 1-3 innings and struck out five, including the side in the fifth. His streak of consecutive scoreless innings at home was snapped at 26 1-3 when Brett Lawrie led off the third with his ninth home run, but the right-hander still improved to 8-2 lifetime against the Blue Jays.
“They’ve got a good lineup with some guys that can hurt you,” Weaver said. “But I was able to minimize the damage for the most part, and the boys came out and scored three early. That took a little pressure off me.”
Weaver had an opportunity to become the first pitcher in the Angels’ 53-year history to make four consecutive home starts without giving up a run, but Lawrie ended that with only the second homer against Weaver in his last eight outings.
“I threw two sliders in a row to him, and both of them backed up,” Weaver said. “He’s a mistake hitter. I made a mistake to him and he hit it put it where it should have been.”
Esmil Rogers (3-6) gave up seven runs – five earned – and 10 hits over five innings. The right-hander is 0-4 with a 6.60 ERA in his last eight starts after back-to-back wins against Texas and Colorado.
The Blue Jays, trying to avoid finishing last in the AL East for the first time since 2004, are a season-worst 16 games behind first-place Boston and 7 1/2 behind the fourth-place Yankees. Manager John Gibbons, who has used his bullpen more than any other team, has gotten only 11 innings combined from his starters through the first three games of this series.
“Starting pitching is the name of the game, and it’s really hurt us this year,” Gibbons said.
The Angels grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first. Mike Trout extended his consecutive on-base streak to 34 games with a single, and scored when Mark Trumbo barely beat the relay to first by shortstop Jose Reyes on a potential inning-ending double-play grounder to second baseman Maicer Izturis with the bases loaded. Erick Aybar and Chris Nelson followed with RBI singles.
Los Angeles extended the margin to 7-1 with a four-run fifth that began with a leadoff homer by Calhoun, who drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in Friday night’s 7-5 win with an eighth-inning homer off All-Star reliever Steve Delabar.
“Last night was definitely a lot of fun, and tonight was just another good team win,” Calhoun said. “The guy threw some tough pitches to me the first two times up, and you’re going to come up empty a few times. That’s going to happen. That’s part of the game.”
Rogers hit Trout on the left arm two pitches later before giving up a single by Josh Hamilton and a run-scoring single by Howie Kendrick. Center fielder Colby Rasmus made a wide throw to the plate trying to get Trout, and catcher J.P. Arencibia threw to second trying to nab Kendrick – but his throw sailed over Reyes and skipped between Rasmus and right fielder Jose Bautista, allowing Hamilton to score and Kendrick to circle the bases.
“We wanted to make Rogers throw strikes,” Calhoun said. “We knew he can get a little wild sometimes, so we just took it easy and didn’t try to do too much, just stay up the middle. After my at-bat in the first inning, everybody saw the ball pretty well and started a nice little rally, and that set the tone for the rest of the game.”
NOTES: Weaver has not issued an intentional walk since Sept. 4, 2009, against Mark Teahen at Kansas City. Since then, he has faced 3,100 batters in 779 innings without giving up a free pass. … Angels LHP Jason Vargas, who hasn’t pitched since June 17 because of a blood clot under his armpit, threw 50 pitches in a three-inning simulated game and reported no discomfort. … Weaver has 1,197 career strikeouts in 1,416 2-3 innings, and needs 18 punchouts to surpass the total his brother Jeff had in 1,838 innings in the big leagues. … The Angels grounded into two double plays, increasing their total to a major league-worst 106.