Alexi Ogando's conversion from setup reliever to starter has been one of the Texas Rangers' early-season highlights.
Ogando pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre homered, and the Rangers beat Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels 4-1 on Friday night.
Ogando (4-0) missed his scheduled start last Sunday against the New York Yankees because of a blister on his right index finger. But he was in command against the Angels in his eighth career start, all this season after moving from the bullpen.
The lanky right-hander allowed one run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings, pitching for the first time since May 3. Ogando struck out five and walked one for the Rangers, who had lost 11 of 16.
"I felt great because all my pitches were working and I was able to place them wherever I wanted," he said through a translator. "Physically, I felt strong, so it was fine."
Ogando combined a mid-90s (mph) fastball with an improving changeup, keeping the Angels off balance.
"I feel confident in my fastball and now I can say I feel confident in my changeup," he said.
Ogando said in the seventh, the blister "bothered me a little bit, but nothing too bad. It was just sore a little bit. Not pain, really."
Neftali Feliz worked the ninth for his seventh save in seven chances, but the night belonged to Ogando.
"Impressive," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He was able to use all his pitches. He was able to establish his fastball, mainly. Then, a couple of innings into the game, he started establishing his off-speed stuff, elevated the ball when he had to, kept the ball in on them, tried to hit down and away. He really pitched well tonight."
Weaver (6-3) has lost his last three starts after winning his first six. He allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked one, but allowed two homers after giving up only two in his first eight starts.
On April 20, Weaver pitched a complete game in a 4-1 victory at Texas.
Weaver hasn't been awful in his last three starts, allowing a total of 11 runs. But he set the bar high in the first month of the season.
"Outside of a couple of pitches, he didn't pitch that badly," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "When he made mistakes tonight, they didn't miss 'em. Tonight if we were swinging the bats the way we could, he gave us a chance to win. I don't think he was that far off."
Erick Aybar homered for the Angels, who had won five of eight.
Andrus' solo homer in the first gave Texas the lead. In the third, Aybar connected with two outs, his first of the season, to tie it at 1.
Texas went in front 2-1 in the fourth on consecutive doubles by Ian Kinsler and Michael Young. Andrus' RBI single in the fifth gave Ogando a two-run margin.
Beltre's solo shot in the sixth was his team-high ninth, extending Texas' advantage to 4-1 -- and that was good enough to beat Weaver.
"He threw a great game against us the last time he was here, but we were able to capitalize on some mistakes that he made and especially when we had our pitcher throwing the way he did today," Beltre said. "Ogando was terrific, so it gave the offense a little more breathing room."
Texas' Julio Borbon left in the seventh inning with a strained left hamstring. He ran to the warning track in right-center to grab Hank Conger's flyball, and Borbon grabbed the back of his left leg after the catch.
Borbon will have an MRI on Saturday. He becomes the latest Rangers outfielder to get hurt, joining injured teammates Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz.
NOTES: Hamilton took batting practice for the first time since sustaining a broken bone in his right shoulder in April. The 2010 AL MVP said he faced between 40 and 50 pitches and felt good. Hamilton will continue hitting in the cage for the next few days, then have a CT scan early next week to check on how well the shoulder is healing. ... Cruz also continues to progress from a strained right quadriceps that landed him on the 15-day DL on May 7. Cruz took early BP with Hamilton and will test his leg in running sessions over the weekend. Cruz could begin a five-game rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco next week. ... RHP Scott Feldman will start for Frisco in a rehab assignment Saturday and throw about 80 pitches. Feldman hasn't pitched this season due to right knee surgery. ... The Rangers hired former third base coach Dave Oliver as a special assistant for baseball operations. Oliver coached for Texas from 1987-94.