ARLINGTON -- A three-run deficit to Jered Weaver this season has been like a 10-run hole to an ordinary pitcher, but something wasn't right with the All-Star right-hander Sunday night.
He had been good enough for six innings, but not great.
He hadn't put the Texas Rangers away like he had so many other teams this season.
Maybe it was the short rest that got to him. Maybe it was the heat that has suffocated players all summer at Rangers Ballpark.
The Rangers finally made Weaver and the Angels pay.
Facing the prospect of seeing their division lead trimmed to one game, the Rangers rallied for four runs in the seventh inning and received terrific pitching from the bullpen to beat the Angels and Weaver 9-5.
Josh Hamilton homered and drove in three runs, and Ian Kinsler scored three times as the Rangers pushed their lead in the American League West to three games by winning the finale of the three-game series.
"It was a big win," Kinsler said. "We're not going to get overly excited. There's still a lot of baseball to be played. Anytime you gain games on the team right behind you, it's important."
The game changed on the first four pitches of the seventh inning. Weaver threw three of them.
The Rangers were down 5-4 when David Murphy started the inning with a double, and Kinsler lined the first pitch he saw for an RBI single that knotted the game at 5-5.
Elvis Andrus bunted the first pitch he saw into the air, and the ball landed in the grass and rolled to a stop on the first-base line for a base hit.
With Hamilton coming up, Angels manager Mike Scioscia removed Weaver for left-hander Scott Downs. Hamilton bounced Downs' first pitch into right field, and Kinsler raced home with the go-ahead run.
After Michael Young was walked, pinch hitter Endy Chavez snuck a chopper into center field for a two-run single and an 8-5 lead. Seven of the runs were charged to Weaver, who threw 103 pitches.
"I don't want to speak for him, but he was the same guy we've seen," Kinsler said of Weaver. "I don't know if it was the heat that got to him or the three days' rest, but he was good. Tonight we were able to capitalize on a couple mistakes."
After a quick inning by Mike Adams in the eighth, Andrus drove in Kinsler with a hit that looked just like Chavez's an inning early. Up 9-5, Neftali Feliz worked a 1-2-3 ninth.
Not all news was good news for the Rangers, who saw Nelson Cruz leave the game in the sixth with a strained left hamstring.
He started the inning with a fly ball down the right-field line and started to slow as Torii Hunter converged on it. The ball bounced off a sliding Hunter's glove, and Cruz started limping shortly after he had accelerated to go to second base.
He will be evaluated today, an off day for the Rangers before they open a three-game series against Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
"It's a hamstring," manager Ron Washington said. "You know what that means: time."
The Angels scored in four of the first five innings against Colby Lewis, who entered with a 5.56 home ERA this season. They were up 4-1 entering the bottom of the third, when the Rangers got back in the game.
Weaver walked Kinsler to start the inning, and Andrus drove him home with a triple to right. Hamilton followed, and drilled the first pitch, a hanging slider, over the center-field wall for a tie game.
Kendrick, the hottest Angels hitter, launched a solo shot into the Rangers' bullpen to start the fifth.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760