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Shoemaker lays groundwork, bats seal deal

Righty bounces back to hold Rangers to 1 ER
September 25, 2018

ANAHEIM -- Five days after a self-described "atrocious" outing in Oakland, Matthew Shoemaker delivered an impressive bounce-back performance for the Angels, working five strong innings in a 4-1 win over the Rangers on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.A solo home run by Joey Gallo in the third inning proved to

ANAHEIM -- Five days after a self-described "atrocious" outing in Oakland, Matthew Shoemaker delivered an impressive bounce-back performance for the Angels, working five strong innings in a 4-1 win over the Rangers on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.
A solo home run by Joey Gallo in the third inning proved to be the lone blemish for Shoemaker, who held Texas to four hits while walking none and striking out seven in his fifth start since returning from the disabled list Sept. 3. The encouraging results helped atone for Shoemaker's previous outing, during which he was tagged for five runs over 2 2/3 innings against the A's.
"The stuff [Shoemaker] had in the first couple innings was probably the best we've seen in a long time," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think he got a little second wind to finish the fifth. He got some big outs, but he got a little tired, and that's understandable. He's still working through what you would consider Spring Training, so he was kind of hitting a wall a little bit, but that's five strong innings, for sure."

Shoemaker said he worked with pitching coach Charlie Nagy between starts to rectify a few mechanical issues he felt plagued him in his last start. The 31-year-old right-hander has now posted a 4.84 ERA over 22 1/3 innings since returning from surgery to decompress a nerve and repair a torn pronator teres tendon in his right forearm.
"It's definitely a step in the right direction, especially today," Shoemaker said. "It's been really frustrating this season having to deal with that again, and most importantly, missing all that time. But every time I've been out there pitching since I've been back, I have not felt it at all."
The Angels have not yet decided whether Shoemaker will make another start this season. Felix Pena is currently lined up to start the final game of the season on Sunday, but Thursday's off-day would also allow Shoemaker to pitch that day on normal rest.
"We're going to look at the last weekend and see where everybody is," Scioscia said. "I don't know if there's any more that Shoe needs to show this year. We'll evaluate it and see where we are in the weekend, and we'll make a decision."
Shoemaker departed with the Angels trailing, 1-0, but his offense rallied for four runs in the sixth to ensure his effort didn't go to waste. After mustering just two hits over the first five innings against Rangers right-hander Yovani Gallardo, the Angels' bats finally began to stir following a leadoff double by Kole Calhoun, who subsequently advanced to third on a groundout by Jose Fernandez.
After intentionally walking Michael Trout to put runners on the corners, Rangers interim manager Don Wakamatsu brought in left-hander Martin Perez to face the left-handed-hitting Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani promptly delivered a broken-bat blooper to center field, driving in Calhoun from third to tie the game at 1.

Texas third baseman Jurickson Profar then fielded a bouncer off the bat of Justin Upton but made an errant throw to first base, allowing Trout to score the go-ahead run from third. Another defensive miscue from the Rangers followed, as Andrelton Simmons reached on an infield single after shortstop Elvis Andrus and second baseman Rougned Odor collided while attempting to dive for the ball, loading the bases with one out.
Eddie Butler was summoned to replace Perez, but he walked Taylor Ward to force in a run and then yielded a sacrifice fly to Kaleb Cowart that extended the Angels' lead to 4-1.

Noe Ramirez, Williams Jerez and Richard Parker worked a scoreless inning apiece before handing it off to Hansel Robles, who pitched a clean ninth to pick up his second career save and his first since 2016 with the Mets.
Ohtani to undergo Tommy John surgery
SOUND SMART
Ohtani is now 10-for-32 (.313) against left-handed pitchers since becoming the Angels' full-time designated hitter on Aug. 30. Prior to that, Ohtani largely sat against lefties to give Jose Pujols a chance to occasionally DH and take a break from his first-base duties. Pujols underwent season-ending knee surgery last month, freeing up the DH spot.
UP NEXT
Left-handers Andrew Heaney (9-10, 4.21 ERA) and Yohander Mendez (2-2, 6.04) will face off on Wednesday night as the Angels and Rangers conclude their three-game series at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Heaney was charged with the loss in his last start on Friday at Houston after allowing six runs over three innings. He is 1-3 with a 7.50 ERA in six career starts against Texas.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.