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Weaver fans eight over 6 2/3 scoreless

ANAHEIM -- If the Angels are going to make a run in the second half, their stars need to lead the way.

And on Friday night, in a 4-1 victory over the American League West-leading Athletics at Angel Stadium, Jered Weaver, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton did exactly that.

Trout, Pujols and Hamilton combined for five hits, two home runs and three RBIs, Weaver threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings and the Angels snapped their three-game losing streak in front of an announced crowd of 43,515 -- the club's fourth sellout of the season.

While every win is important, this opened a stretch with 13 of 20 games against either Oakland or Texas, the two teams the Angels are chasing in the standings.

"The standings right now are there," said Mike Scioscia, who became the 39th manager (fifth active) to reach 1,200 wins. "They are what they are. We dug a big hole and we know what we're up against and we also know it's doable. We have a lot of confidence in our team going the way we can."

Weaver, who ended the first half by allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings in a loss to Seattle, returned to his dominant self against Oakland.

"You want to try to utilize all your pitches throughout the course of a game," Weaver said. "Certain pitches weren't there early, but I was able to get them later on. Slider was really effective, was able to throw that to both lefties and righties."

The Angels' ace threw a season-high 118 pitches, recorded a season-high eight strikeouts, scattered four hits and has now thrown 24 straight scoreless innings against Oakland.

"I think that you match up well against certain teams, and Oakland is a team that I've had some success against," Weaver said.

As Weaver was shutting down the Athletics -- who had to scratch Home Run Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes because of soreness in his left wrist -- the Angels' offense put together its own power display against Oakland starter A.J. Griffin.

"I gave up three home runs, but I felt I was executing pitches pretty well," Griffin said. "It was just not our day. Weaver was on; he was really spotting up on that white line. It's just frustrating to me."

Griffin, who has surrendered 22 home runs this season, gave up solo shots to Erick Aybar, Pujols and Trout.

"Aybar went down and got it, dropped the head on it," Griffin said. "With Trout I tried to go with a changeup after I struck him out with it the previous at-bat. I didn't get it down enough, and he got it. The one to Pujols was one slider too many. He looked uncomfortable on the first three sliders, but I kind of left the last one up a little too much. He's been around a while; it wasn't his first home run. Trout's pretty good, too."

Hamilton, a career .301 hitter after the All-Star break, got the scoring started with an RBI double in the first, but the Angels relied on the long ball after that.

Pujols entered Friday's contest with a career .324 average in the second half, highest among all active players, and added to that with a pair of hits. In the third, the Angels slugger took a 3-2 pitch and smacked it over the left-field wall for his 491st career home run. Pujols has nine RBIs in the last eight games and hits in nine of the last 10.

"He got into a deep count and just got a little offspeed pitch that was middle-in, and he didn't miss it," Scioscia said. "The line drive to right-center was good to see, too. I think that's when Albert's at his best, when he's able to move the ball around the field. He's important to us and it's good to see him have a good night tonight."

Aybar led off the fifth inning with a home run of his own as he snuck his fourth home run of the season just inside the right-field foul pole.

Trout also got to Griffin -- who allowed four runs on six hits in five innings -- in the fifth when he joined the home run barrage.

The Angels All-Star hit his 16th home run of the season, a solo shot to left field, and extended his hitting streak to a season-long 11 games in the process.

Although the win was a big one for the Angels, the team still has a lot of work to do.

"Every game is important," Trout said. "Weave came out, pitched seven strong for us, battled. Bats were there, we had some clutch hits and our bullpen came in and shut the door. So, we just need to keep it rolling into tomorrow."

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