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Shoemaker, Angels complete sweep of Rangers

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[June 23, 2014]  ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Rookie Matt Shoemaker continues to make his case for a permanent spot in the Los Angeles Angels' rotation.

The right-hander pitched 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball, and the Angels defeated the Texas Rangers 5-2 Sunday night to complete a three-game sweep at Angel Stadium.

Los Angeles earned its fourth victory in five games, moving within five games of the first-place Oakland Athletics in the American League West.

Shoemaker (5-1) struck out six, walked two and allowed eight hits.

"Today was an awesome outing by him," catcher Hank Conger said. "I know his go-to pitch is usually the splitter-change, but, really, his slider and his curveball were working, so we mixed in everything."

Shoemaker, who has won all five of his starts after joining the rotation from the bullpen, is competing with two left-handers, Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago, for the fourth and fifth spots in the Angels' rotation.

"If you try not to dwell on any of that stuff, it helps you," Shoemaker said of the competition. "Focus is huge for a pitcher. My mentality is always to be aggressive, no matter what."
 


Texas sustained its season-worst fifth loss in a row.

Right-hander Yu Darvish (7-4) took his second consecutive loss. In six innings, Darvish allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits, four walks and two wild pitches. He struck out nine.

"He wasn't hitting spots," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Once he got past the third inning and started getting a feel for his breaking ball, he started settling down. By that time, the damage was done."

Catcher Chris Gimenez believes that adjusting Darvish's delivery could help.

"We might have found a little something in his mechanics that he might be able to work out and get a little more action on his pitches," Gimenez said. "It might be an easy fix. We'll take a look at it in his next bullpen."

Los Angeles hit two home runs in the fourth inning during a four-run surge to build a 5-0 lead. First baseman C.J. Cron hit a solo drive into the Rangers' left field bullpen. After Conger followed with a walk, third baseman David Freese drove Conger home with a double down the left field line. Right fielder Kole Calhoun culminated the rally by hitting the ball off the right field foul pole for a two-run homer.

The Angels relied on a video replay to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. With one out and Calhoun at first base, designated hitter Albert Pujols hit a single up the middle to send Calhoun to third.

Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin made a wild throw toward the third base line after fielding the ball. As Calhoun ran toward home, Darvish retrieved the ball and threw to Gimenez.

Plate umpire Bill Miller called Calhoun out, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia asked for a video review, which reversed Miller's call.

Gimenez was ruled to have blocked the plate before having the ball.

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"The rule is very clear, the way it's stated now," Scioscia said. "As a catcher, you have to have the responsibility to give the runner a lane before you have the ball in your possession. It just looked like there was no lane.

"Right now, it's one of those rules that I'm sure is going to get a lot of scrutiny as time goes on."

Washington argued and was ejected.

"That one, to me, was instinctive," Washington said of Gimenez's play. "What is the catcher supposed to do, look down at his foot and make sure he's on a certain side of the plate? There's no way he can do that."

Texas broke Shoemaker's shutout in the sixth. Martin led off with a double, moved to third on shortstop Elvis Andrus' single and scored on Shoemaker's errant pickoff throw, which hit Andrus in the left wrist on a bounce. Cron had trouble finding the ball, and Martin exploited the chaos to come home.

Martin went 3-for-4 with two doubles and scored a run. Andrus and third baseman Adrian Beltre added two hits apiece for Texas.

Rangers first baseman Donnie Murphy left the game in the fourth inning due to a sore left knee. His replacement, Brad Snyder, hit a solo home run in the ninth.

NOTES: Texas' Adrian Beltre needs one hit to become the sixth third baseman in major league history to accumulate 2,500 career hits. ... Angels DH Albert Pujols re-entered the starting lineup after missing Saturday night's game because of a sore lower back. He went 1-for-4. Pujols left Friday night's game after five innings when his back became stiff. ... The Rangers lead the major leagues with 14 players on the disabled list and 20 players who have been on the list. ... Los Angeles CF Mike Trout ranks second in American League voting for the All-Star Game. Trout has 2,544,658 votes as of the latest report. Toronto Blue Jays OF Jose Bautista leads with 2,906,878. ... From April 21 through Saturday, Angels SS Erick Aybar led American League shortstops with a .321 average (68-for-212) and 32 RBIs. Aybar went 0-for-4 Sunday. ... The game drew a crowd of 37,191.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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