ANAHEIM -- Matt Shoemaker's near-flawless performance Saturday night was nearly undone by one pitch in the Angel's 3-1 loss to the Orioles.Shoemaker's lone mistake came in a scoreless game in the sixth inning against Orioles third baseman Manny Machado when he hung an 0-2 changeup with a runner on. Machado
ANAHEIM -- Matt Shoemaker's near-flawless performance Saturday night was nearly undone by one pitch in the Angel's 3-1 loss to the Orioles.
Shoemaker's lone mistake came in a scoreless game in the sixth inning against Orioles third baseman Manny Machado when he hung an 0-2 changeup with a runner on. Machado belted it, but the ball fell just foul down the left-field line. Shoemaker came back with a slider to strike out Machado.
Shoemaker continued a masterful performance in which retired the first 14 hitters of the game and ended with a career-high 12 strikeouts with no walks and three hits over a season-high 7 1/3 scoreless innings. He became the first Angels pitcher since Jered Weaver in 2014 to record 12 strikeouts, and just the third pitcher in franchise history to record 12 strikeouts and no walks, joining Frank Tanana (twice) and Dan Haren.
"That's the best game I feel Matt's pitched," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He had purpose, he had a great gameplan. I think he and [catcher] Jett [Bandy] worked really well, and obviously got deep into that game pitching the way he did."
Shoemaker was balanced, mixing in all his pitches and keep an aggressive Orioles lineup at bay.
"I just had to reset my mindset and go out there and execute pitches, and we did," Shoemaker said.
It was a breakout performance for Shoemaker, as the former 16-game winner has gotten off to a rough start in 2016. He went down to Triple-A with a 9.15 ERA after April, but has now rebounded with back-to-back solid starts.
"We want to go out there and attack and have success," Shoemaker said. "We did that tonight, and now it's just a matter of going back out there and do it every five days. We know it's in there, know it's possible. Let's go do it."
The pitching staff may be turning a corner, as Shoemaker joined left-hander Hector Santiago and right-hander Nick Tropeano as pitchers to reach season-highs in innings pitched in the past week.
"We sure hope so," Scioscia said of a turnaround. "The heartbeat of your club is your rotation, and we need them to give us a chance to win."
Whereas Shoemaker narrowly avoided damage with his glaring mistake, Angels closer Joe Smith paid dearly for his in the ninth with a 1-0 lead. After recording a pair of outs to start the inning, he gave up a hit and was down to the game's last strike against Mark Trumbo. He missed. Two pitches later, catcher Matt Wieters took a 1-0 sinker away over the fence in left for a three-run home run.
"I just walked Trumbo," Smith said. "You can't walk right-handed hitters in those situations. I did that before with Tampa. Bit us before, bit me again [tonight]. You walk guys, you pay for it. Make one wrong pitch, and he crushes it."
Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim.