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Weaver outpitches Lester, Angels bump up AL West lead to 3 games with 4-0 win over A's

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ANAHEIM, Calif. - Jered Weaver and Jon Lester both made their big league debuts in 2006. Both have pitched a no-hitter, both are three-time All-Stars.

One glaring difference: Lester has two World Series rings, Weaver has none.

Friday night marked the first time they have started against each other in the majors, and Weaver outpitched Lester to lead the Los Angeles Angels over Oakland 4-0 and extend their AL West lead over the A's to three games.

"Hopefully, I'll have one of those rings on my finger one of these days," said Weaver, now 8-1 over his last 14 starts.

"That's the only thing I play for. I don't play for anything else than winning. My main goal is to win a World Series. That's what everybody should play the game for. Tonight I was just trying to match Lester inning by inning."

A night after the Angels edged the Athletics 4-3 in 10 innings, they won with pitching and power.

Albert Pujols hit his 516th career homer and Chris Iannetta hit a two-run shot despite a valiant effort by centre fielder Coco Crisp for a 2-0 lead in the fifth.

That was enough for Weaver and the bullpen.

Weaver (15-7) threw three-hit ball for seven innings, striking out three and walking three. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth by retiring Josh Reddick on a flyball.

Lester (13-9) gave up two earned runs in six innings. He is 0-2 in his last three starts after going 7-0 with a 1.46 ERA over his previous 11 outings for Boston and Oakland.

Erick Aybar led off the fifth with a single that extended his hitting streak to 14 games. Iannetta followed with a towering drive to left-centre that kept carrying before Crisp caught up to it and got a glove on the ball with a desperate leap. But the ball popped out of his mitt and wound up on the other side of the 8-foot fence.

"I was just trying to time it," Crisp said. "Running back, I knew I could catch it. I caught it, but as soon as I hit the wall, with the momentum of the yank, the ball just kind of slung out of there."

Crisp strained his neck on the play and was replaced by Craig Gentry.

"It was an unbelievable effort. He came out of nowhere to get to it," manager Bob Melvin said. "We've seen him hit the wall hard several times before — no more so than that."

"I was worried about his head, too, the way he hit the wall, and we thought it was a concussion because he was a little shook up. But his neck is the issue again. We've had to deal with that before, and we have to again," he said.

Iannetta got another RBI in the sixth when Lester walked him on a full count with the bases loaded. The run was unearned, the result of consecutive two-out errors by third baseman Josh Donaldson and shortstop Eric Sogard.

Oakland's only hit over the first five innings was a two-out double in the fourth by Donaldson that crossed over the bag before bouncing into foul territory. Stephen Vogt followed with a drive that All-Star centre fielder Mike Trout gloved on the dead run just as he reached the fence in left-centre.

Weaver was bailed out by his defence again in the fifth, when left fielder Josh Hamilton caught Alberto Callaspo's flyball for the second out while diving across the foul line with two men on.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: SS Jed Lowrie, who hasn't played since Aug. 13 because of a broken right index finger, will begin a two-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday. If all goes well, he'll be reinstated from the disabled list on Monday.

Angels: RHP Garrett Richards showed up for the team photo in crutches, nine days after his season-ending injury. He tore the patellar tendon in his left knee on Aug. 20 at Boston, and the recovery time is six to nine 9 months.

UP NEXT

Athletics: Jeff Samardzija (4-3, 3.86 ERA) looks to win back-to-back starts for the first time since last August with the Chicago Cubs. The only time he ever faced the Angels in the regular season was July 10, 2013, when he surrendered nine runs in 4 2-3 innings and four home runs — two by Hamilton — in a 13-2 loss at Wrigley Field.

Angels: After days of secrecy, manager Mike Scioscia announced after the game that RHP Cory Rasmus would make his first major league start after 43 relief appearances. It would have been Richards' second turn through the rotation. They tried Wade LeBlanc last Monday, but he gave up six runs over 3 1-3 innings in a 7-1 loss to Miami and was designated for assignment the following day.

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