(Sports Network) - The Angels already have the best earned run average by a starting rotation in the American League and that has come despite ace Jered Weaver missing nearly a month of action.
Weaver, though, is set to return to action tonight and Los Angeles could use the dominating right-hander given the current run San Francisco starter Ryan Vogelsong is on.
Those two square off this evening in an expected pitcher's duel in the finale of a three-game series between the Angels and visiting Giants.
Weaver is set to make his first start since exiting a May 28 outing versus the Yankees in the first inning due to a strained lower back. He did not record an out prior to leaving and was charged with three runs on two hits without a decision. He had thrown eight innings of one-run ball in another no-decision at Oakland in his previous outing.
The 29-year-old returns on an expected 80- to 90-pitch limit following a positive bullpen session on Sunday. Tomorrow's off day for the Angels will also give Weaver some extra rest before his next outing and push Dan Haren back to Friday against the Dodgers.
"It's been a long little trek here," Weaver said on the Angels' official website. "It's long enough sitting out four days in between starts, let alone 15. I've been champing at the bit a little bit to get out there, so it's exciting to know that it's close and that everything feels good."
Weaver has gone 6-1 with a 2.61 earned run average in 11 starts, including a 2-1 mark in five appearances since he no-hit the Twins back on May 2. His season record also includes a perfect 4-0 record in five games at home, where he has only allowed three earned runs over 32 2/3 frames while walking just two and striking out 30.
Weaver will make his first career start versus the Giants, who counter with a streaking right-hander and former All-Star in Vogelsong.
San Francisco has won all eight of Vogelsong's starts since his last loss on May 3 and the hurler himself has won six decisions over that span. He picked up his third winning start in a row on Friday at Seattle, tossing seven-plus innings of two-run, four-hit ball.
"He keeps focused. He was a little off today but he finds a way to get it done." Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Vogelsong. "It's nice to be able to take these guys deep into the game, it allows you to use them the way you want to use them."
The 34-year-old has logged at least seven innings in eight of his last nine starts and has allowed more than two earned runs just once in that span. On the season, Vogelsong is 6-2 with a 2.29 ERA in 12 starts, including 3-0 with a 3.48 ERA in five on the road.
Vogelsong has never before started against the Angels, having faced them once before in relief.
The Angels erupted for a season high in runs with last night's 12-5 win, getting five RBI from Mark Trumbo as well as a three-run homer and RBI single off the bat of Albert Pujols.
Rookie Mike Trout added his second career four-hit game and scored four runs for the Angels, who have won eight of their last 11 and remained five games back of the first-place Rangers in the AL West.
The offensive outburst gave starter C.J. Wilson room for some error as he allowed five runs -- three earned -- on 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings to claim victory.
"It was one of those nights. Giving up 10 hits is embarrassing to me. They didn't make it easy on us," said Wilson. "I was upset that I couldn't go further into the game, but credit our offense. They put up runs. Any time our offense is hitting, it's good for the team."
Barry Zito was rocked for eight runs on nine hits and three walks in just 3 1/3 innings to suffer the loss for San Francisco, which has dropped four of its last six and sits 4 1/2 games behind the Dodgers for the top spot in the NL West.
"Barry attacked the zone, but he got too much of the zone," Bochy said. "He made too many mistakes. He didn't have his good location tonight."
Melky Cabrera had three hits and an RBI in defeat, but became the fastest player in San Francisco Giants history to reach 100 hits. He did so in 291 at- bats, surpassing Willie Mays' record of 295 at-bats in 1958.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt went 1-for-4 to extend his career-best hit streak to eight games
The Angels swept a three-game series at San Francisco in the most recent meeting in 2009 and are hosting the Giants for the first time since 2000.
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