ANAHEIM -- Jered Weaver gave the Angels precisely what they needed with the brand of dominant pitching that can carry a team into and through October.
Maicer Izturis, having watched Weaver and former teammate Bartolo Colon duel under the Friday night lights, was asked to finish it off as a pinch-hitter. "The Natural" delivered in his cool, easy style.
Izturis' sacrifice fly brought home pinch-runner Jeremy Moore in the bottom of the ninth, the Angels claiming a 2-1 decision from the Yankees that kept them 2 1/2 games behind the Rangers in the American League West race.
The Yanks remained 2 1/2 games ahead of Boston in the AL East.
"I felt great," Weaver said, rebounding from a pair of starts in which he'd yielded 13 earned runs in 11 innings. "My location was a little better than the last couple of outings. The defense played great, and I was able to locate as well as I have all year.
"When you get down to this time of the season, the body feels a little tired. This is when you need to grind it out and perform. It's definitely a confidence-builder."
Derek Jeter, whose fifth-inning error helped the Angels draw even after Jesus Montero's home run, gave Weaver a ringing endorsement.
"If you look up pitcher in the dictionary, you have a picture of him," Jeter said. "He knows what he's doing. He's going to mix it up, hit his spots. I don't think he threw too many balls over the middle of the plate. We didn't get anything going.
"He's been pitching like that for them the entire year, and he's a handful. When you face him, you know that there aren't going to be a lot of runs scored."
Colon was equal to the challenge. Getting uncommon movement on his fastball, he handcuffed the Angels for seven innings, holding them to the one unearned run on six hits and a walk.
But on this occasion, the Angels' oft-maligned bullpen -- in the hulking form of closer Jordan Walden -- was superior to New York's relief corps.
Southpaw Aaron Laffey gave up a leadoff single to Alberto Callaspo in the ninth and was replaced by right-hander Luis Ayala.
Off like a bullet, Moore raced to third on Vernon Wells' hit-and-run single to left and scored on Izturis' deep drive handled by Curtis Granderson without the hint of a throw.
Moore, another burner to go with Peter Bourjos, Erick Aybar and Mike Trout, has scored big runs in back-to-back wins as the designated pinch-runner.
"We made some plays defensively, and Weav kept us in it pitch-to-pitch with Colon," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We did a good job executing on the offensive and defensive side.
"Vernon Wells got the ball on the ground on the hit-and-run to get Moore to third base, and Izzy got it in the air to left-center. He's a great guy to have on the bench to use from either side of the plate."
The win went to Walden, who worked a scoreless ninth after Weaver had held the Bronx Bombers to three hits and two walks while striking out 11 in eight innings.
Montero's third-inning homer, the third in the phenom's 20 at-bats, was the only blemish in an otherwise lights-out effort by Weaver, the AL's starter at this year's All-Star Game in Phoenix.
"I wanted to get the ball in on the corner," Weaver said. "I didn't think he expected it in. He put some good wood on it.
"Obviously, we don't have as many home runs as those guys on the other side. But we find ways to win."
At 16-7 and with 18 games left on the Angels' schedule, Weaver retains an outside shot at 20 wins. He has thrown a team-high 214 1/3 innings, a number Dan Haren could reach or surpass when he engages CC Sabathia on Saturday night. Haren is at 209 2/3 innings.
"We're very comfortable he's got a lot of gas left in his tank," Scioscia said of Weaver, who is 10 innings away from his career high, established last season. "He had an extra day [of rest between starts] and rebounded well. He threw the ball as we expected down the stretch. It was a heck of a game he pitched."
The Angels were impressed with Colon, their 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner. The big man has been much better in his comeback season than his 8-9 record suggests.
"He had crazy movement tonight," said Angels cleanup man Torii Hunter, hitless in three at-bats against Colon. "That's some of the best movement I've seen. His ball was jumping all over the place."
The Angels, in their fashion, were jumping all over the basepaths.
A bunt single by Bourjos, his 15th of the season, led to the tying run in the fifth. Jeter committed a throwing error on Jeff Mathis' grounder, and after Aybar bounced into a forceout, Howard Kendrick lined a Jeter-esque hit to right to deliver Bourjos.
"I had more time," Jeter said. "But even if I didn't take that time, it's still not a difficult play. It's a play you make a thousand times. I threw on the run. Looking back, you could take another step."
The Angels were airtight with the leather. Superb plays by Kendrick, robbing Russell Martin at second, and by first baseman Mark Trumbo, on a bullet by Granderson, took Weaver out of the fourth and eighth innings, respectively.
In the ninth, Walden walked Alex Rodriguez with one away. Pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez took off on an 0-2 pitch to Robinson Cano, and Mathis gunned him down. Cano struck out.
"Jeff threw a rocket on that pitchout," Scioscia said.
It was the precision of another right-hander, the ace, that had the Angels feeling better about their chances with the finish line looming.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.