The same day the Angels moved beyond a small sell-off at the trade deadline, into two more months of fact-finding about their future, they received an encouraging sign about what it could hold. Cam Bedrosian secured his first career save to end the Angels' 5-4 victory over Oakland on Tuesday at Angel Stadium.
"Cam's awesome," said closer Huston Street, whose knee injury forced Bedrosian's insertion into the role. "One-run game, first day on the job? I've been impressed with him all year, frankly."
Without the disabled Street and the traded Joe Smith to deploy out of his bullpen once Matt Shoemaker finished seven innings, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia handed a three-run lead to J.C. Ramirez for the eighth inning. The June waiver claim soon yielded a two-run home run to Yonder Alonso.
For the ninth, Scioscia called on the 24-year-old Bedrosian to attempt his first save. He struck out the side. He has struck out eight consecutive batters, and 15 of the last 20 men to step up against him, dating to July 19.
That's not quite the run Shoemaker began in May, but it is encouraging. In his last 14 starts, Shoemaker has struck out 98 men, walked 14, and logged a 2.72 earned-run average. But his spectacular six-week span after his triple-A recall has masked regression to a more normal rate. Since July began, he has a 3.99 ERA.
In Tuesday's second inning, Shoemaker yielded a leadoff home run to Khris Davis, then walked Marcus Semien and nailed Jake Smolinski in the left hand with a 92-mph fastball. He tiptoed out of the inning, but walked the first man to bat in the third, Coco Crisp. Shoemaker settled down, though. He induced a double-play grounder from Jed Lowrie, struck out Stephen Vogt to end the inning, and scattered damage thereafter. The only further run scored via a Crisp solo shot.
In the first inning, Mike Trout notched the Angels' lone hit until the fourth, and was caught seeking out second base soon after. He had not been thrown out stealing since April 20.
After Andrelton Simmons singled through to center field in the fifth inning, catcher Jett Bandy barrelled Sean Manaea's first pitch, a fastball, beyond the left-field fence. That tied the score, 2-2.
Bandy has hit better than the Angels expected since his May call-up when veteran catcher Geovany Soto hurt his knee. He has five home runs and has demonstrated plate patience in addition to his power.
But Soto is now on the mend again, heading to Salt Lake City on Wednesday to begin a weeklong rehab assignment, so the Angels should soon have to make another decision between Bandy and opening-day starter Carlos Perez.
Once Trout walked to begin Tuesday's sixth, Albert Pujols tapped a grounder to Semien at shortstop. It could have been a double play. Instead, it was an error, and both men jogged home two pitches later, when Jefry Marte hit a three-run home run. It won the Angels the game, ended Manaea's evening, and set up Bedrosian's night.
"I remember getting my first win," Shoemaker said. "Everybody in here remembers their first whatever."