Matt Shoemaker was done for the night, his six-inning, three-run, six-hit effort against the Seattle Mariners giving way to an icing session on the couch in front of a television in the Angels’ Safeco Field clubhouse.
Then Smith turned the eighth into a high-wire act, giving up a leadoff infield single to Dustin Ackley and a double to right-center field by Robinson Cano, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Shoemaker moved to the edge of his seat.
“You don’t want to be in those situations, but they’re fun to watch, especially when guys like Joe and Street are in them,” Shoemaker said. “You know how good Joe is. It’s like, ‘Oh, he’s got the bases loaded, you know he’s going to get a couple quick outs and get out of it.’ It’s fun to watch him and Streeter in the back end.”
Smith got ahead of cleanup batter Nelson Cruz and threw him two nasty inside fastballs that Cruz fouled off, setting him up perfectly for a sweeping slider that Cruz waved at for strike three.
“I got lucky with a high-and-away slider,” Smith said. “It wasn’t exactly where I wanted to throw it, but he swung, and it worked out. Every once in a while you get lucky. Smoke and mirrors.”
Smith fell behind Kyle Seager, who hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning, with two balls, and Manager Mike Scioscia, not wanting to take any chances with the powerful left-handed hitter, instructed Smith to intentionally walk him to load the bases.
Smith then struck out Rickie Weeks and got Logan Morrison to fly to center field to snuff out the rally. Street retired the side in order in the ninth, rebounding from a 3-and-1 count to get Austin Jackson to fly to left for the final out to preserve a 5-3 Angels victory.
“If you look at the top setup men and top closers in baseball, there is a poise to them,” Scioscia said. “Even if they give up a lead or lose a game, they bounce right back.
“If one guy gets on, they have the poise to go out there and repeat pitches. Joe definitely showed it, and Huston showed it on a 3-1 count to Jackson. He came back with two key pitches to get the last out.”