ANAHEIM, Calif. — There were days, plenty of them, when Jered Weaver would light up radar guns and blow fastballs past hitters.
Now the years and the innings have taken their toll, forcing Weaver to reinvent himself as a control pitcher. It has not always been a smooth or successful process.
Sunday, though, in the Angels’ 3-2 victory over the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, Weaver gave evidence of a starting pitcher who may yet have figured out a way to extend his career.
“Weave has a way of getting it done,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “He really knows his way around situations and knows his way around hitters.”
On a day when all the runs came via the solo homer, Weaver (11-11) might have come up with his best outing of the season. He gave up two solo home runs to Adrian Beltre, but otherwise kept the Rangers in check.
Andrelton Simmons matched Beltre with two solo home runs — he began the day with one homer this season.
Yunel Escobar led off first for the Angels with the other solo shot off Colby Lewis (6-2).
The rest was left to Weaver, who struck out a season-high eight in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits and walked two.
“I’m just glad I finally got this thing figured out,” Weaver said. “Every start it seems to be getting better.”
Weaver led the American League in strikeouts with 233 in 2010. He won 20 games two years later and 18 as recently as 2014.
But the last two years have seen a noticeable drop in velocity. His fastball now hovers in the mid-80s mph. He struck out Texas second baseman Rougned Odor in the first with a 68 mph curveball.
“It’s tough when your expectations are so high,” Weaver said.
Weaver has spent his entire career with the Angels and will become a free agent at the end of the season. He turns 34 next month, and no one is certain what awaits Weaver, or even if he wants to continue pitching.
“We’ll talk about that the last week of the season,” he said.
Neither is the team saying much about Weaver’s future.
“We’re going to take this one step at a time, hopefully finish strong here in the next couple of weeks and then start to evaluate things and see what’s going on,” Scioscia said.
After Escobar gave Weaver the early lead, Beltre homered in the second. Simmons put the Angels back ahead in the bottom half, then Beltre tied it back up with a home run in the sixth.
It was Beltre’s fourth multihomer game of the season and 31st for his career. He has 29 home runs on the season.
Simmons connected again in the sixth.
For Lewis, it was his first start since going on the disabled list with a strained lat June 21.
“Kind of vintage Colby,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “Able to move the fastball around, use the curveball with the slider to get outs. Other than three pitches, in control of what he was wanting to do. It was nice to see. We’re going to need Colby down the stretch.”
Lewis went 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out five.
Andrew Bailey, released by the Phillies last month and then signed by the Angels, pitched a perfect ninth to earn his third save.
Rangers: RHP Tony Barnette, the 32-year-old rookie who’s become an unexpected key cog in the bullpen, has not pitched since Sept. 4 because of a mild oblique strain. Manager Jeff Banister said the injury was not serious enough to warrant a stint on the disabled list.
Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker, readmitted to the hospital Saturday after feeling pressure in the area where he was hit in the head by a line drive a week ago, was discharged Sunday after an additional CT scan. He had emergency brain surgery to relieve swelling in Seattle on Sept. 4.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (10-10) is scheduled to make his team-high 30th start of the season Monday when the Rangers open a three-game series in Houston. Perez has gone at least five innings in each of his previous 11 starts.
Angels: RHP Ricky Nolasco (5-13) is slotted to start for the Angels when the Mariners open a three-game series in Anaheim Monday. Nolasco is 1-5 with a 4.30 ERA in his first seven starts with the Angels since being acquired from the Twins Aug. 1.