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Matt Shoemaker is again sharp but Angels fall in ninth inning to A's

Matt Shoemaker is again sharp but Angels fall in ninth inning to A's
Angels starter Matt Shoemaker went six innings Friday night against the A's, striking out seven and giving up one run in 109 pitches. (Jason O. Watson / Getty Images)

Matt Shoemaker continued his remarkable run of pitching, and the Angels continued their even more noticeable inability to win his superb starts.

The resurging 29-year-old right-hander has averaged more than seven innings his last six times out and pitched to a 1.83 earned-run average, but the Angels have won just twice.

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After an abridged ninth-inning rally, they perished again Friday night, 3-2, to the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum, as Andrelton Simmons stretched for Billy Burns' sharp ground ball and came up just short.

"That's a hard way to lose," Simmons said.

In Friday's first inning, Mike Trout pounded a routine grounder to Marcus Semien at shortstop, and Semien threw it away. Next, Albert Pujols pounded a grounder into the hole to Semien's right — about the same spot where the game would later be won — and Semien could not reach it. Jefry Marte flied out to end the inning without a run.

In the second inning, Johnny Giavotella doubled but stayed stranded. Oakland's Danny Valencia also doubled in the second, missing a home run by six or so inches, but did not stay stranded. He moved up a base on a Simmons throwing error and a subsequent sacrifice fly.

The Angels' Kole Calhoun walloped a Kendall Graveman curveball just beyond the wall in right-center field in the third inning, and Khris Davis slammed a Shoemaker split-finger fastball just beyond the wall in left-center field in the fourth inning. That concluded the scoring until the ninth.

The Angels didn't have another hit until the eighth, when Simmons doubled. They had two more, singles from Marte and Daniel Nava, in the ninth. Giavotella then drove in the tying run with a deep sacrifice fly.

In the bottom of the ninth, Fernando Salas issued a two-out walk, gave up a lined single, and then the ripped single Simmons couldn't reach.

Shoemaker walked three of the first 15 batters he faced this season. When he issued his only walk Friday, in the fifth inning, it snapped a streak in which he had walked only three of his last 201 batters.

Still, Shoemaker continued his starring stretch. He finished only six innings on 109 pitches, but struck out seven and yielded just the one earned run, lowering his ERA a few ticks more. It had been 8.49 through his first seven starts. The turn coincides with an increase in his use of the splitter.

"I've been throwing it with intent," he said Friday.

The Angels sagged to 13 1/2 games behind the American League West-leading Texas Rangers. Including Friday, they will play 13 consecutive games against division opponents: at Oakland and Houston, then each team again at home.

No matter, Manager Mike Scioscia said.

"I'm not looking past the next 13 minutes," Scioscia said. "I just don't think it serves a purpose to look down the road. That just becomes a distraction."

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Twitter: @pedromoura

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