The best pitchers in the game usually bring out the best in Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker, who was 8-3 with a 2.55 earned-run average in 15 starts against former All-Star starting pitchers before Monday.
But Shoemaker was not up to the task against Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale on Monday night, giving up seven runs and nine hits, including three home runs, in 52/3 innings of an 8-2 loss in U.S. Cellular Field.
Shoemaker was 1-2 with a 1.17 ERA in his five previous starts and took a 19-inning scoreless streak into the game, but that ended in the first, when he gave up two singles and Melky Cabrera's sacrifice fly.
Catcher Tyler Flowers hit a home run in the third inning, Avasail Garcia hit one to deep left-center field in the fourth, and Garcia highlighted a four-run sixth with a three-run home run to right field that gave the White Sox a 7-0 lead and sent the Angels toward their seventh consecutive loss on the road. The White Sox won for only the third time in 11 games.
"Pitches were up," said Shoemaker, who fell to 5-8 with a 4.36 ERA. "The solo homers aren't going to hurt you that much. It's that three-run homer that got us. If that didn't happen, it could be 3-2."
Location wasn't the only issue for Shoemaker. So was commanding counts.
"It just seemed like he couldn't get back into that good fastball command and controlling and containing counts," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We talked about Sale being tough. The first thing you have to do is pitch with him, and we weren't able to do that."
The Angels got a scare in the eighth when right fielder Kole Calhoun was hit in the top of the left hand by a 96-mph Sale fastball. The hand swelled immediately, but Calhoun remained in the game and said afterward that he was OK.
One reason David Freese's recovery from a broken right index finger is taking longer than expected is the third baseman is also dealing with a sore right thumb, which he injured when he was hit by the pitch that broke his finger July 22.
Swinging a bat isn't a problem for Freese, who hoped to return in three weeks, but he had to take a few days off from throwing "to let it simmer down," he said Monday. Freese hopes to begin a rehabilitation stint with triple-A Salt Lake this weekend as a designated hitter and transition to third base when he is able to.