C.J. Wilson, Angels shut out Mariners, 2-0

C.J. Wilson holds Mariners to two hits over eight innings and David Freese delivers the win for Angels

KEY MOMENT: With Albert Pujols aboard in the fourth inning, Angels third baseman David Freese drove a 1-and-0 pitch from Seattle starter James Paxton through the chill of a 56-degree evening and over the 380-foot sign in right-center field for a home run and a 2-0 lead. "That ball was absolutely killed," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "It was a big hit against a guy who has been tough on us."

AT THE PLATE: Pujols laced the Angels' first hit of the game into the left-field corner with one out in the fourth, and he appeared to make an ill-advised decision to stretch the hit into a double. But Seattle shortstop Brad Miller, after fielding a relay from left fielder Justin Ruggiano, threw wildly past second, and Pujols was safe.

ON THE MOUND: C.J. Wilson threw what Scioscia called "a masterpiece," blanking the Mariners on two hits in eight innings, striking out two, walking one and throwing 96 pitches. It was the 20th career start of at least eight innings for Wilson but only the first in which he's thrown fewer than 100 pitches. He also threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of 27 batters. "We haven't seen that kind of stuff since midseason last year," Scioscia said. "I think it points to the fact that he's healthy. You can't command the ball much better than that." Closer Huston Street struck out two of three in the ninth for his first save.

ON THE DOWN LOW: The key for Wilson, who went 13-10 with a 4.51 earned-run average in 2014, his worst season as a starter, was spotting his fastball low in the strike zone. He also escaped a first-and-third, two-out jam in the second by getting Mike Zunino to fly to right.

IN THE FIELD: Shortstop Erick Aybar made two superb plays, ranging far behind the second-base bag for Logan Morrison's second-inning chopper and flipping to second baseman Johnny Giavotella for a forceout, and backhanding Nelson Cruz's fourth-inning grounder in the hole and making a long, one-hop throw to first for the out. Aybar also charged Miller's fifth-inning slow roller and made an off-balance throw to first for the out.

UP NEXT: Right-hander Matt Shoemaker (16-4, 3.04 in 2014) will oppose Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (15-9, 3.52) at Safeco Field on Wednesday at 7 p.m. On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 830.

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World