Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 7/3/13
ANAHEIM, Calif. Its taken the Angels almost three months to find themselves, three months to finally play the way they hoped they would in April and May. Its a little late, but maybe not too late to finally make an impact in the American League West race. They are just past the halfway point in the season and still below .500, but the Angels are slowly beginning their long climb back. A 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night pushed them to within 8.5 games of first place, the closest theyve been to the division lead since May 30. "This is the kind of ball we expected to play early on," pitcher Jered Weaver said. "Its kind of the same deal as it was last year. We started playing better ball in the second half, and now weve got a nice little win streak going. Hopefully we can take a couple of more off these guys and keep it going against Boston." The win was the Angels seventh in a row, but that isnt necessarily a reason to celebrate. They had an eight-game win streak in late May, then promptly lost 11 of their next 15, including a four-game sweep by the dreadful Houston Astros. But in some ways, this feels different. Weaver pitched solidly, giving up just one run over seven innings and riding an offense that was efficient if not spectacular. The Angels scored all their runs in the second inning and finished with nine hits all singles. It marked the first time since June 29, 2011 that they won a game without an extra-base hit, but it hardly mattered. When teams are hot, they find new ways to win. This one came despite a quiet night from Albert Pujols, who faced his former Cardinals team for the first time since he famously signed a 10-year, 240-million free-agent deal with the Angels before the 2012 season. Pujols went down quietly, striking out twice, drawing a walk and then grounding out. But with Weaver keeping the Cardinals in check, Pujols off night didnt matter. Weaver was a 20-game winner last season, but a broken bone in his left elbow knocked him off track and put him on the disabled list from April 7 until May 29. But his stamina is coming back, and in his past two starts, he has yielded just two runs over 14 innings. "He finished strong, and he got stronger as the game went on," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "That gave us some encouragement that maybe hes getting his stamina back. Thats the way Weave can pitch. He threw some of his best fastballs in the later innings." Weaver, who won for only the second time this season, was out of the game by the time the Angels made their biggest defensive play of the night. With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, Angels left-hander Scott Downs induced David Freese to hit a sharp grounder to first base. Mark Trumbo made a back-handed stab on his knees, fired to shortstop Erick Aybar to get Allen Craig at second, and Aybar threw to Downs to complete the double play. "That was the game-changer right there," Pujols said. And those are the kinds of plays the Angels are making now. Defense has been an issue at times, but not anymore. "Everybody talks about pitching and offense, but defense has been a lot better for us as well," Weaver said. "Everything is starting to click and come together, and were showing what this team is all about. Hopefully we can keep it going."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Adam Jones: Bengals dominated Steelers in playoff game

Robert Griffin III on QB battle: Only one of us runs 4.3

Gordon defends friendship with 'good friend' Manziel

Geno Smith ‘kind of pissed off’ about Ryan Fitzpatrick’s return

Bell admits he knew about missed drug test, lied to media

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

Five NFL teams set to underachieve in 2016

WATCH: Belichick gets annoyed by Jimmy Garoppolo question

Ronda Rousey denies being pregnant despite rumor

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker