ARLINGTON (AP) — Matt Shoemaker was excited to be back on the mound for the Los Angeles Angels, and the right-hander was rather effective in his return.
Shoemaker threw five scoreless innings in his first start for the Angels in more than five months, since the opening weekend of the season after also missing the final 3 1/2 months last year with a right forearm strain, to get them started in a 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
“Matty looked like he didn’t skip a beat from what we saw when he was pitching well throughout his career,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “His stamina is not quite there, but he maintained his stuff, maintained his velocity.”
After singles by two of the first three batters he faced, Shoemaker retired 13 of his last 14. He walked Shin-Soo Choo with two outs in the third before Rougned Odor grounded into a double play — the MLB-best 148th turned by the Angels this season.
“You don’t really call it nerves. I guess it’s partly that, partly adrenaline, especially having this long of a layoff,” Shoemaker said. “Best way to sum it up, excited, ready to go, get out there, step up on the mound and just go out there and pitch. A lot of fun.”
Shoemaker said he felt great physically after he struck out three and threw 42 of 62 pitches for strikes. He missed 134 games after going on the disabled list following his March 31 start. His final game in 2017 came in mid-June of that season.
Rangers third baseman Jurickson Profar said Shoemaker was mixing his pitches well to keep hitters off balance.
“He had a good fastball and a good split finger,” Profar said.
Taylor Ward snapped a scoreless tie with his seventh-inning homer, a two-run shot that helped make rookie reliever Taylor Cole (1-2) a first-time winner. Cole went 1 1/3 innings after relieving Shoemaker.
Blake Parker, the sixth Angels pitcher, worked the ninth for his 14th save.
All of the Los Angeles runs came off Zac Curtis (0-1), the third pitcher for the Rangers on a night they started the game with two scoreless innings by reliever Jeffrey Springs before fellow rookie Ariel Jurado’s four innings.
“Those two kids threw the ball extremely well,” manager Jeff Banister said. “Put six zeroes on the board to get you to the seventh, that’s about the best you can ask for.”
Jose Fernandez led off the Angels seventh against Curtis with a single and Ward, their 2015 first-round draft pick in his 18th big league game, lined a shot into the left field seats for his third homer. Curtis then struck out Jose Briceno, but the Los Angeles catcher reached on a wild pitch and later scored on David Fletcher’s single.
Joey Gallo had an RBI double that ricocheted off the right field wall in the bottom of the inning, and Texas had the bases loaded with two outs when Justin Anderson struck out pinch-hitter Ronald Guzman.
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