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Weaver sustains strained left elbow, exits

ARLINGTON -- Jered Weaver, a man with a no-hitter on his resume, and Yu Darvish, who was one out away from a perfect game in his most recent outing, brought all the trappings of a classic confrontation to the mound on Sunday night at Rangers Ballpark.

Those notions were scattered quickly to the Texas winds with a total of five runs crossing the plate in the first inning, three by the Rangers on a pair of home runs. The Rangers, with Ian Kinsler's three-run homer against former Texas reliever Mark Lowe breaking it open after Weaver's exit, took the game, 7-3, and the weekend series, two games to one, in front of 42,034 fans.

Neither Weaver nor Darvish managed to get an out in the sixth inning, both departing with ailments: Darvish with an issue with his right ring finger, Weaver with a strained left elbow -- and a sigh of relief after X-rays turned up negative. A line drive off the bat of Mitch Moreland leading off the sixth inning could have done considerably more damage to the Angels' ace.

"I slipped on the mound and was trying to catch myself from falling down," Weaver said, "and next thing you know there's a bullet coming at you. If it hit somewhere on my body, there would have been more pain issues involved. The left elbow is better than the right arm, that's for sure. I've never really experienced anything like this before.

"I didn't feel anything pop or crack. We'll give it a few days and see where it goes from there. It's pretty painful now. It feels like a when you jam a thumb, but it's in the elbow."

With an off-day Monday before Tuesday night's home opener against the A's, Weaver's next turn comes up on Saturday.

"I've got an extra day -- hopefully, that helps a little bit," Weaver, a 20-game winner last year, said. "The trainers said the next couple days will tell in terms of swelling. Right now I'm not sure."

Darvish moved to 2-0, while Weaver, who had a no-decision in his debut in Cincinnati, dropped to 0-1.

Rangers manager Ron Washington removed Darvish after five innings and 85 pitches, 13 fewer than Weaver.

"It wasn't really a blister," Darvish said. "It was part of my skin that came off. So there's not much special treatment. I just have to be careful when I pitch."

Washington expects his ace to be ready for his next start.

Kinsler's rare opposite-field blast -- just the third to right in his career and first since 2009 -- came on a full count after Lowe had walked No. 9 hitter Leonys Martin. Kinsler had two homers in the series and has three for the season.

The Angels loaded the bases in the first with nobody out, Darvish struggling with his control after the 14-strikeout masterpiece against the Astros. When Josh Hamilton hit sharply into a double play started by Kinsler, Mike Trout scored. That left it up to Mark Trumbo to deliver with two outs, and he did, lashing an RBI single to left to cash in Erick Aybar, who'd been hit by a pitch after Trout's walk.

"He gives you a lot of different looks," Trumbo said of Darvish. "He's not an easy guy to figure out. He was throwing a lot more pitches with sinking action than I remember in the past.

"The good thing to take from this game was Weav getting out of the way of that bullet. We're lucky he's such a good athlete; that ball was coming right at him."

In response to the early Angels' lead, Kinsler walked leading off and Lance Berkman launched first home run as a Ranger to right. Two hitters later, David Murphy unloaded to right-center, giving Darvish the lead.

"He [Weaver] left a breaking ball up to Berkman, [and] he got him," Washington said. "And then [he] put a fastball right down the middle on Murphy, and he got him. We got back in the game, and Yu settled down and kept us around until we were able to put some more runs on the board."

The Angels stranded five runners in the second and third innings, 10 for the game. They were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Weaver also worked out of trouble in the second and third before Kinsler's two-out single in the fourth cashed in Geovany Soto, who'd doubled, for a two-run lead. The Angels shaved it in half when Trumbo lashed a two-out double to left in the fifth following Hamilton's single.

"Weav got out of sync finding his release point," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "As the game went on, he really was searching, trying to hit his spots. We'll see how he feels the next couple days. Even though it's his left elbow, you're still pulling down with it. It's an integral part of his delivery."

Sciosocia acknowledged that it could have been much worse than an elbow strain.

"No doubt," he said. "That ball was scorched."

Hamilton, after going 0-for-10 to start the series, had three hits.

"In batting practice today, the second, third round, I felt something," Hamilton said. "I kind of fixed my own self. I need to coil up."

On balance, he said, his first trip back to Texas as an opposing player, the target of boos and derisive chants, was "a little surprising ... a little disappointing more than anything."

Hamilton can expect a different kind of noise from a more supportive crowd on Tuesday night when he heads to right field and takes his first swings as an Angel inside Angel Stadium.

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