ARLINGTON, Texas — Jered Weaver slipped after throwing the pitch and then saw the liner coming right back toward his head.
The 20-game winner for the Los Angeles Angels managed to avoid getting hit, but he still got hurt.
Weaver sustained a strained elbow in his left (non-throwing) arm in the Angels’ 7-3 loss Sunday night against the Texas Rangers, a game in which he quickly gave up the two-run lead his team got against Yu Darvish.
“Pretty painful. It feels a little swollen in there,” Weaver said after the game. “I can’t move it around too good right now. It’s strange. Kind of like jamming your thumb.”
Weaver said he “didn’t feel anything pop or crack,” but said he wasn’t sure if he’d make his next scheduled start.
The Angels dropped two of three games against their AL West rivals in the first series Josh Hamilton played his former team. The five-time All-Star was booed constantly throughout the weekend.
Hamilton, who signed a $125 million, five-year deal with the Angels last winter, had three hits in the series finale. He finished 3 for 13 in the series, and is batting only .160 (4 for 25) on the season.
While there were some social media reports that Hamilton made an obscene gesture to fans in right field, the 2010 AL MVP who played in the Rangers’ only two World Series appearances said that never happened.
“I never would do that. Ever. I never would flip anybody off,” said Hamilton, expressing surprise about the constant booing every time he came to the plate. “A little more hectic than I expected. ... A little disappointing more than anything.”
Darvish (2-0), who came within one out of a perfect game in his first start five days earlier, walked leadoff hitter Mike Trout, then hit Erick Aybar on the foot and walked Albert Pujols to load the bases. A run came home when Hamilton grounded into a double play before Mark Trumbo’s RBI single.
Lance Berkman’s first homer with the Rangers was a two-run shot in the bottom of the first off Weaver (0-1). David Murphy added a solo shot two batters later to put Texas ahead to stay.
Ian Kinsler also homered for the Rangers, his three-run homer off Mark Lowe coming three batters after Weaver came out of the game.
Weaver got hurt when Mitch Moreland hit a liner to start the sixth inning.
“I tried to catch myself and saw the ball coming at me. I didn’t land right on it. Definitely, hyperextended it or something,” Weaver said. “I kind of landed on my glove and I pushed to get out of the way. I landed in an awkward position.”
The pitcher rolled over and immediately grabbed his arm near the elbow. Manager Mike Scioscia and a trainer quickly were on the field. X-rays were negative.
“He was wincing and holding his left elbow, which is a relief because it wasn’t his right elbow,” Scioscia said. “He just said he fell on it and he was really stiff. We were making a change anyway.”
After a sacrifice bunt by Geovany Soto, Lowe walked No. 9 hitter Leonys Martin before Kinsler’s third homer of the season.
Weaver allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked four.
Darvish threw 85 pitches over five innings, and was replaced starting the sixth because of a blister on his right ring finger that had also developed in the game against Houston when he retired 26 consecutive batters before giving up a single.
“I didn’t have everything today. It wasn’t my 100 percent, but I had to grind it out,” Darvish said through his translator. “The reason I was able to do that was because of all the support from my teammates.”
Darvish had 14 strikeouts with no walks in his near perfect opener at Houston, but retired only two of the first nine Angels he faced. The second time through the lineup, the ace from Japan had five strikeouts.
Darvish finished with six strikeouts, four walks and a hit batter. He gave up three runs and six hits.
“Yu Darvish really did good damage control there,” manager Ron Washington said. “Yu settled down and kept us around.”
NOTES: Trumbo, who entered 1 for 15 in his career against Darvish, added an RBI double in the fifth, scoring Hamilton. ... Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan combined for four scoreless innings in relief of Darvish. ... After opening the season with series at Cincinnati and Texas, both of Hamilton’s former major league teams, the Angels play their home opener Tuesday against Oakland. Los Angeles is the first team since 2007 to open the season with three series in a row against playoff teams from the previous season.