May 12-18: Shoemaker Steps Up, Angels Gain Ground on A’s


May 17, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels outfielders Grant Green (10), Mike Trout (27) and Collin Cowgill (7) celebrate the 6-0 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 24-19 (01 at Blue Jays, 2-0 at Phillies, 3-1 vs. Rays last week)

Highlights: After taking three of four from Toronto, the Angels swept their first road series of the season early last week; winning a two-game set with Philadelphia May 13 and 14. They allowed a combined three runs and tagged perennial all-star Cliff Lee for four runs through seven innings, though none of the runs were earned.

All was lost heading into the ninth inning against Tampa Bay last Thursday. That was until Mike Trout etched his name into Angels history. Down 5-2, Rays closer Grant Balfour sought his eight save working against the bottom of the order. He immediately walked two before Collin Cowgill singled to right field, scoring Hank Conger.

Brad Boxberger replaced Balfour with the tying run on second. Trout drove Boxberger’s third pitch into the Angels’ bullpen, sealing a 6-5 win while giving the young center fielder his first-ever game-winning homer.

C.J. Wilson earned his second career shutout, dominating the Rays in a 6-0 triumph Saturday night. The two-time All-Star threw 127 pitches, striking out five while scattering five hits, in his most inspired performance since joining the team three years ago.

Albert Pujols smacked two home runs off David Price yesterday in the Angels 6-2 victory. The pair place Pujols 25th all-time just ahead of Hall of Famer Eddie Murray and leaves him five behind Gary Sheffield. It was also his second multi-homer game this season; the first being April 22 in Washington on the day he hit his 500th.

Lowlights: Given their inconsistency with runners in scoring position, it was only a matter of time before the Angels got shut out. They were 0-3 with RISP and left 10 men on base against the Rays last Friday, becoming the last major league team to lay a goose egg this season.

Chris Archer yielded two hits through 5 2/3 innings and retired the first two batters in the fifth before consecutive walks to John McDonald, Erick Aybar, and Mike Trout. Albert Pujols followed with an inning-ending groundout to third. Pujols is 0-for-6 this season with the bases loaded and 3-for-22 over the last three years.

Player of the week: Hector Santiago’s demotion to reliever left a hole in the Angels’ starting rotation. In two starts last week, Matt Shoemaker assured Mike Scioscia that the right choice was made.

Shoemaker started games against Philadelphia and Tampa Bay last week, respectively, allowing two runs or less in each start. On April 13, he limited the Phillies to two runs on three hits in five inning of work. Shoemaker didn’t get the decision but set the Angels up for a four-run rally in the sixth.

Yesterday he scattered two hits and three walks as the Angels took the finale in a four-game series with the Rays. The only earned run off Shoemaker came after he was pulled in the seventh. After the right-hander walked James Loney, Mike Morin served up a two-run homer to Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier. It was Shoemaker’s first career victory as a starter.

Injury report: Josh Hamilton is taking batting practice at extended spring training and expects to begin a rehab assignment Friday. The right fielder hasn’t played since tearing a thumb ligament April 8 in Seattle.

Kole Calhoun and David Freese are with Triple-A Salt Lake recovering from their own respective injuries. Calhoun went 3-for-5 with a triple and Freese scored a run for the Bees Sunday afternoon.

Up next: The Angels get a day off for the first time since April 8 following three games with Houston. Kansas City head to Angels Stadium for a Memorial Day weekend set beginning Friday night.