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LAA@DET: Weaver holds Tigers to one run over six

Bryce Harper and Mike Trout got their first regular-season meeting out of the way on Monday, and Albert Pujols joined the 500-home run club on Tuesday.

Wednesday's series finale between the Angels and Nationals is all about pitching.

Going for the Angels, who have taken the first two of a three-game set, will be ace Jered Weaver. Going for the Nationals, losers of four of their last six, will be left-hander Gio Gonzalez.

Gonzalez has pretty much cruised through the early portion of this season, winning three of his first four starts while posting a 2.88 ERA, and going at least six full innings every time he's taken the ball. His last time out, the 28-year-old held the Cardinals to one run in seven innings, striking out seven and walking just one.

Weaver, meanwhile, might finally be starting to put it together.

The 31-year-old right-hander went 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA in his first three starts, but seemed to return to form when he faced the Tigers on Friday, pitching six innings of one-run ball while recording 12 of his 18 outs through the air and being helped by an 11-run barrage from the offense.

"The strength has been coming back a little bit," said Weaver, who will be facing the Nats for the first time. "I've been working real hard at getting the strength back; legs and shoulder stuff. Maybe the angle was a little better on the fastball than normal, but I threw the ball the same way I have been all year. I'm trying to find that happy medium -- not trying to do too much, trying to stay within myself and pitch. I felt like I did a better job of that [last start]."

Angels: Frieri struggling with homers
When Nats shortstop Ian Desmond led off the ninth inning on Monday night with a homer to left-center field -- a 462-foot blast that was the second longest in Nationals Park history -- it went for Ernesto Frieri's fourth home run allowed in 8 1/3 innings. His home-runs-per-nine-innings rate is now 4.32, after being a relatively high 1.32 from 2012-13 (the Major League average was 0.99 in that span).

But Angels manager Mike Scioscia sees a silver lining, saying: "I think it's pretty clear with Ernie that the balls that have been hit out of the park have been mistakes. It's not like he's making good pitches and they're hitting home runs. … If they're hitting good pitches, and they're hitting them out of the park, and it's where you're trying to go with pitches, I think you have a lot more work to do than if it's a matter of you making a few more mistakes than you're used to, and they haven't missed them."

Nationals: Bullpen fortunes reversed
Drew Storen had a rough year last year, while Tyler Clippard had a solid year setting up closer Rafael Soriano. So far this year, that dynamic has reversed itself.

Clippard, with a 2.72 ERA over 337 relief appearances from 2009-13, has allowed a run in five of his 11 games this season, with 14 baserunners over 9 2/3 innings. Storen, on the other hand, has held the opposition to two baserunners and one run over 7 1/3 innings.

But Nats manager Matt Williams isn't necessarily thinking of changing how he deploys the back end of his bullpen, saying: "Really, all three of those guys, in theory, at the back of the bullpen are interchangeable, depending on workload, depending on what happens during the course of a series or during a week. So I expect Drew to be ready to pitch at any point."

Worth noting
• With a win on Tuesday, the Angels (10-10) surpassed their win total for all of April last year, with seven games remaining.

• By going 11-9 last season, 10-8 in 2012 and 8-7 in 2011, the Nationals are one of just three National League clubs to register a winning Interleague mark each of the last three seasons, joining the Pirates and D-backs. Comments