Jered Weaver makes first-half history with Sandy Koufax

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Jered Weaver put the finishing touches on his brilliant first half with eight shutout innings against the Orioles yesterday, improving to 10-1 with an MLB-leading 1.96 ERA in 15 starts.

Last year Weaver entered the All-Star break with an 11-4 record and 1.86 ERA, which puts him in some exclusive company for first-half dominance.

Dating back to 1950 the only pitchers with 10 or more wins and a sub-2.00 ERA at the All-Star break in back-to-back seasons are Weaver in 2011-2012 and Sandy Koufax in 1963-1964.

And as Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times notes, if AL manager Ron Washington chooses Weaver to start the All-Star game he’ll be the first pitcher to do so in back-to-back seasons since Randy Johnson in 2000-2001.

Not bad for a guy who missed nearly a month with back problems earlier this season.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.