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Angels aim for sweep of Nationals
(SportsNetwork.com) - Tuesday night belonged to Albert Pujols.
Coming off his first victory of the season, ace Jered Weaver hopes to shine in similar fashion on Wednesday when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim try to lock up a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals.
Weaver got off to a rough start, going 0-2 with a 5.79 earned run average through his first three outings. The righty finally found the win column, however, on Friday in Detroit as he held the Tigers to a run on three hits and three walks while striking out three.
Weaver dropped his ERA to 4.74 and gained a little confidence in the process.
"It's always nice to get the monkey off your back, obviously, early on," said Weaver, who has never faced the Nationals. "Hopefully, build off this one and get that winning mentality back and keep going out there and throwing the ball well."
Gio Gonzalez has thrown the ball well in the majority of his four starts on the season and takes the hill tonight for the Nationals.
Gonzalez is 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA through four starts as he allowed only one run in winning his initial two outings.
The 28-year-old southpaw was then blasted for six runs in a loss to Atlanta on April 13, but bounced back to beat St. Louis on Friday. Gonzalez yielded just a run on four hits and a walk, striking out seven through seven innings.
A former Oakland hurler, Gonzalez is 7-2 with a 2.54 ERA in 10 previous meetings with the Angels.
Gonzalez will try to slow down Pujols, who homered twice in Tuesday's 7-2 victory to reach 500 home runs for his career. He hit both longballs off Nats starter Taylor Jordan, a three-run homer in the first and a two-run shot in the sixth.
Pujols became the 26th player in Major League history to reach 500 career homers and joined Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez and Willie Mays as the only four to do so in their first 14 seasons.
Only Jimmie Foxx and Rodriguez were younger (both age 32) when they hit their milestone shots.
When asked if he ever expected to hit 500 home runs, Pujols replied, "Never."
"My goal was always to try and help the organization I played for win a championship," he said.
In a twist, Pujols also hit his 400th career home run at Nationals Park, doing so as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals on Aug. 26, 2010.
"To be able to do it in the same park that you hit 400, to say you reached two milestones like that is pretty special," Pujols said.
Angels starter Tyler Skaggs surrendered two runs on three hits, but walked four with five strikeouts over seven innings to earn the win, Los Angeles' fourth in six games.
Jordan was tagged for six runs -- four earned -- on eight hits with five strikeouts over five innings in the setback.
For the second straight night, Washington was held to just three hits as a team. The Nationals did not record a hit past the third inning on Tuesday.
The Angels have won five straight and seven of the last eight meetings with the Nationals, including a three-game sweep at home in the previous encounter during the 2011 campaign.
04/23 10:28:06 ET
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