ARLINGTON, Texas — This should be Jered Weaver’s finest hour.
On Friday, he became the American League’s first 20-game winner this season. He has pitched a no-hitter this season. The Angels wonder why anyone else would win the Cy Young Award.
There might be a team spraying champagne in this ballpark this weekend. Unfortunately for Weaver and the Angels, that team would be the Texas Rangers.
Weaver did everything he could to keep the Angels alive Friday. But he could not stop the Oakland Athletics from winning, and he could not stop the schedule from marching toward its conclusion.
Weaver held the mighty Rangers to two runs over seven innings, and the Angels hung on for a 7-4 victory. But the A’s won again, maintaining a two-game lead over the Angels for the fifth consecutive day.
A two-game lead with nine to play? Not so bad.
A two-game lead with five to play? Not so good.
“We saw some sillier things last year at 162 games,” Weaver said. “Hopefully that happens to us. We’ve just to go out there and keep winning ballgames.”
If not, by the time the Angels leave here Sunday, the Rangers could have clinched the American League West, and the A’s could have clinched the final wild-card spot.
“We don’t have control of our destiny,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. “We need to win and get some help. The only thing we control is how we play the game.”
The Angels did that pretty well Friday. Mike Trout led off the game with a home run and later tripled, Mark Trumbo delivered his first three-hit game since July 15, and the Angels led from start to finish.
Torii Hunter contributed two assists — that’s 14 for the season — and Scioscia campaigned for his right fielder after the game.
“If he doesn’t win the Gold Glove, something is really off,” Scioscia said.
Scioscia also campaigned for Weaver, who became the seventh pitcher in franchise history to win 20 games.
“We’re not in a pennant race without him,” Scioscia said.
Scioscia said Cy Young voters should look beyond Weaver’s 20 victories.
“I don’t think there’s a more consistent pitcher in the league,” Scioscia said.
“No doubt he is the front-runner. He’s pitched the way you would expect an ace to pitch. He’s having the year a Cy Young winner has to have. It’s an honor he deserves, and hopefully he’ll be rewarded with it.”
Weaver (20-4) leads the league with an .833 winning percentage. His 2.73 earned-run average ranks third behind David Price of the Tamps Bay Rays and defending winner Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. Weaver has held opponents to a league-low .213 batting average.
Weaver posed for pictures at his locker after the game. He didn’t care to talk about his Cy Young chances, but he was tickled about winning 20.
“Never in a million years did I think I would throw a no-hitter in the big leagues,” he said. “Never in a million years did I think I would win 20, either.”