ANAHEIM -- Matthew Shoemaker waited 15 months to return to the mound at Angel Stadium after enduring a protracted rehab from a right forearm injury, so the sight of a team trainer jogging onto the field wasn't exactly a welcome one in the fifth inning of Friday's 5-0 loss to
ANAHEIM -- Matthew Shoemaker waited 15 months to return to the mound at Angel Stadium after enduring a protracted rehab from a right forearm injury, so the sight of a team trainer jogging onto the field wasn't exactly a welcome one in the fifth inning of Friday's 5-0 loss to the Mariners.
After Mike Zunino doubled to lead off the inning, Eric Munson and manager Mike Scioscia emerged from the dugout to briefly check on Shoemaker, who showed a slight dip in velocity and appeared to be out of sync. They breathed a sigh of relief after Shoemaker assured them that the issue was mechanical and not health-related.
"He was getting around the ball a little bit," Scioscia said. "Wasn't letting him get through it and get extension. So, that's a relief. That at least we can kind of see what it was, and it wasn't anything that kept him on the shelf for a long time."
Shoemaker believes it simply took him a while to settle back in after grinding his way through a 25-pitch fourth in which he allowed the Mariners to score three runs.
"I have not had a long inning like that in a long time, so I probably was a little tired going out in the fifth," Shoemaker said. "After that first hitter, it kind of just wore off. The adrenaline kicked in. I kind of got back into rhythm."
After waving off the trainer, Shoemaker proceeded to strike out Dee Gordon and Mitch Haniger before Jean Segura reached on a throwing error by rookie third baseman Taylor Ward. With his pitch count at 77, Shoemaker was subsequently lifted in favor of Cam Bedrosian. He departed after allowing three runs on five hits while walking none and striking out eight over 4 2/3 innings in his first home start since June 14, 2017.
Since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 3, Shoemaker has logged a 2.75 ERA with 15 strikeouts over 19 2/3 innings in three starts for the Angels. While the Angels are now mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the final two weeks of the season will be key for Shoemaker, who is aiming to show that he can still be an effective starter now that his injury woes are finally behind him.
"I'm just encouraged," Shoemaker said. "I feel good going out there. I just want to go out there and compete. That's the most fun. That's why we play. But overall, I feel really good about it, and I just want to keep building off of it."
Shoemaker didn't get much help from his offense, which produced only six hits against a parade of six Mariners relievers. Gordon helped keep Seattle's shutout bid intact by making a leaping catch at the center-field wall to potentially rob Michael Trout of a home run in the fourth inning.
"They got some key hits with guys in scoring position," Scioscia said. "Tonight, we didn't get ours. It tilted the game in their favor."
Shoemaker needed only 34 pitches to retire the first nine batters he faced, but he allowed the Mariners to strike for three runs in the fourth. Haniger opened the inning with an infield single that deflected off Ward's glove and advanced to second on an errant pick-off attempt by Shoemaker. Segura followed with a single to put runners on the corners, setting up Robinson Cano's RBI single to center field.
Shoemaker then retired Nelson Cruz on a groundout and struck out Denard Span before yielding a two-out, two-run single on a misplaced splitter to Ryon Healy that made it 3-0.
"If that's an out, I can live with being down, 1-0," Shoemaker said. "That's not a big deal at all. I gave up two runs there with two outs. That's tough to swallow."
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The Mariners added a pair of runs in the seventh on Gordon's two-run single off Hansel Robles.
Friday marked the Angels' first shutout loss since Aug. 11 against Oakland. They are now 19-28 against left-handed starters this season.
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Trout led off the fourth inning by launching an 0-1 fastball from left-hander Roenis Elias to deep center field, but Gordon made an impressive leaping catch to rob him of a hit. After making the grab, Gordon simply sat on the warning track and laughed.
"I don't think it was going out, was it?" Scioscia said. "I didn't see a replay on it. He got back to it and made the catch. Trout didn't get all of it, obviously, but he got enough where we knew it had a chance."
Left-hander Andrew Heaney (9-9, 3.98 ERA) will match up with right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (2-3, 5.31 ERA) on Saturday as the Angels and Mariners continue their four-game series at 6:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Heaney struck out a career-high 12 batters over seven scoreless innings in his last start on Sunday against the White Sox. He is 1-3 with a 3.78 ERA in six career starts against the Mariners, though he has not earned a win against Seattle since July 12, 2015.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.