Angels' Matt Shoemaker shows resilience in 6-3 win over Texas

Angels' Matt Shoemaker shows resilience in 6-3 win over Texas
Angels starter Matt Shoemaker throws against the Texas Rangers in the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington. (Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

Rockets were flying all over Globe Life Park in the bottom of the first inning Monday night, and there was no life preserver in sight for Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker.

Not that he was looking for one. When you sign as an undrafted free agent out of college and spend six full seasons in the minor leagues before getting a whiff of the big leagues, you don't expect any handouts.


So after getting pounded for three runs and four hits and putting his team in an early hole against the Texas Rangers, Shoemaker didn't look toward the Angels bullpen for help.

He returned to the dugout for a quick damage assessment.

"Man, that inning stunk — it was terrible," the right-hander said. "You reflect on it for four seconds, then you just forget about it. There's nothing you can do about it. It already happened."

Whether it was well-timed amnesia or a refusal to be rattled, Shoemaker seemed like a different pitcher in the second. He gave up no runs and two hits over the next 51/3 innings, and the Angels scored four runs in the fifth for a 6-3 come-from-behind victory.

Collin Cowgill hit a score-tying two-run home run to center field, and David Freese hit a two-run homer through a strong crosswind to right field — his third of the season — in the fifth, as the Angels snapped a three-game losing streak and notched their 14th win in their last 17 games in Globe Life Park.

Shoemaker, who went 16-4 with a 3.04 earned-run average and finished second in American League rookie-of-the-year voting last season, went 61/3 innings, giving up three runs and six hits, striking out seven and walking one to improve to 2-0 for the season and 9-0 with a 1.92 ERA since Aug. 9, 2014.

"There's a presence to him on the mound," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's not out there all hyper and getting distracted. He showed last year he could really pitch out of trouble. That was just a great game from where it started to where it ended up."

Leonys Martin opened the first with a single. Shin-Soo Choo struck out, but Adrian Beltre lined a single to center, Prince Fielder laced a run-scoring single to center, and Mitch Moreland lined an RBI double to right-center.

Elvis Andrus hit a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead, but that also began a stretch in which Shoemaker retired 10 straight batters before giving up a two-out bloop double to Carlos Peguero in the fourth.

"The first four or five hitters, everything was up and flat, and those guys didn't miss anything," Scioscia said. "Then Shoe's command started to come, he got the ball down and brought all his pitches into the game. Pitching into the seventh after the first four hitters says a lot about some of the adjustments he made."

It also says a lot about Shoemaker's resilience and makeup.

"When you get to know Matt, when you look at his career and what he's done — signing as an undrafted free agent, working his way up the ladder — he's battled his whole life to get here," reliever Joe Smith said. "Guys who go through that road aren't the types who give up, who call it a night after one bad inning."