Shoemaker gives up 3 HRs in Angels' 3-2 loss to Mariners
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Matt Shoemaker was matching Felix Hernandez pitch for pitch through six innings - even striking out the side two innings before Seattle's ace did. Then the Los Angeles Angels' right-hander hit the proverbial wall, and three of his pitches went over it.
Nelson Cruz, Logan Morrison and Seth Smith all took Shoemaker deep, sending the Angels to a 3-2 loss despite home runs by Matt Joyce and David Freese.
"Matt gave us a chance to win," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He pitched a great game. He made a couple mistakes they didn't miss, and that was the difference."
Shoemaker (2-2) yielded four hits through 7 1-3 innings with 10 strikeouts, after going 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA in his four previous starts against the Mariners.
"I was very encouraged today until the seventh inning. But those few mistakes can cost you the game," Shoemaker said. "That's the frustrating part, when you're working that hard to execute pitches. The one to Cruz wasn't located where it was supposed to. If it was, it could be a completely different story."
Cruz celebrated his first AL Player of the Month award with his major league-leading 14th homer, a leadoff shot into the left-field corner on a 1-2 pitch to snap a scoreless tie in the seventh. Two batters later, Morrison sent a drive deep into the right-field stands for his fourth of the season - using Cruz's bat.
"I started using it when I had a four-hit game in Texas. So I thought, oh, I guess I'm going to be using this the rest of the year," Morrison said.
Joyce, who came in batting .141 in his first season with the Angels, got one of the runs back in the bottom half with his first homer on Hernandez's 98th pitch.
Until then, Hernandez had not allowed a home run in 41 innings since Angels star Mike Trout took him deep in the first inning of his season debut April 6.
Smith restored Seattle's two-run lead in the eighth with a drive to right on Shoemaker's 90th and final pitch. The three solo homers increased Seattle's total to 27 - most in the majors with the bases empty.
Fernando Rodney closed for his eighth save in nine attempts. He gave up Freese's homer after retiring Kole Calhoun on a fly to the warning track. The game ended when catcher Mike Zunino threw out pinch-runner Collin Cowgill trying to steal second on the first pitch to C.J. Cron.
"We knew there was a possibility he'd go," Zunino said. "Rodney's not the quickest to the plate at times, but we had him slide-step there because we were anticipating that. We went with a fastball there to give us a little bit of extra time. Obviously when you see them send a guy in there to pinch run, you feel they're going to try to get him into scoring position."
Hernandez (5-0) allowed a run and six hits in seven innings while striking out eight and lowering his ERA to 1.73. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner became the first Seattle starter since 2001 to win his first five decisions.
Hernandez is 5-0 with a 1.04 ERA in his last eight starts against the Angels, and the Mariners won the other three games as well.
"He's had our number lately," Scioscia said. "We couldn't pressure him much tonight. And when we did, they made some nice plays in the field. For a while there, we held our own against him. We just have to try and continue to grind out at-bats."
Calhoun was 0 for 3 against Hernandez and is 1 for 21 lifetime with eight strikeouts.
Both teams entered this series having been swept in their previous one - the Angels in three games at San Francisco, and the Mariners in four games at Houston.
COMINGS AND GOINGS
Los Angeles recalled C Carlos Perez from Triple-A Salt Lake and designated C Drew Butera for assignment. Perez, obtained last November in a trade that sent C Hank Conger to Houston, batted .361 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 17 games at Salt Lake. "This wasn't as much about what Drew was or wasn't doing, it was about what Carlos was doing," Scioscia said. "It's his time to come up here and have an opportunity to play. He's ready for the challenge of the major leagues."
Mariners: LHP James Paxton (0-2) is 0-4 with a 6.26 ERA in his last eight starts since beating Oakland on Sept. 12 at Safeco Field. His drought includes two defeats against the Angels.
Angels: Garrett Richards (2-1) makes his fourth start of the season, completing the cycle against the team's AL West rivals.