ANAHEIM (AP) — Matt Shoemaker thought only about his team, not how far he had come personally since a line drive that hit off the right side of his head and led to brain surgery last September.
Shoemaker battled through five innings for his first victory since that injury, helping the Los Angeles Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 8-5 on Wednesday night.
“Wins are always great, but the satisfaction is that we won,” Shoemaker said. “It was a tight game up to that point. Just had to battle to get through five. Winning after that, that was the great thing right there.”
Shoemaker (1-1) went five innings in his fifth start of the season. He was injured on a hit in Seattle by Kyle Seager last September. He experienced no problems in spring training in returning to the mound and the only thing he was missing this season was run support.
And he had enough in the tank after a long first inning.
“That’s always satisfying,” Shoemaker said. “Not being greedy, but you always want more. I want to go out (for) the sixth, seventh, eighth innings. Pitch count got up. Just getting through that one. Try to give the team a chance to win. More importantly, that was a big win for us.”
Athletics outfielder Matt Joyce, the former Angel, hit a two-run homer off Deolis Guerra in the eighth inning. Joyce was 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
Bud Norris pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his third save.
Sean Manaea (1-2) got through just two innings, allowing three runs before his night ended after only 34 pitches because of left shoulder tightness. Manaea retired the first three batters he faced, then allowed three runs on four hits in the second inning.
“Just a little sharp pain,” Manaea said. “Nothing serious. I’ve dealt with it before. It only took me a few days to get back on the mound. To me, I’m not really worried about it. Just trying to do everything I can to minimize the days I don’t throw.”
As of Wednesday night, there were no plans for any tests on his shoulder.
“The velo was down at the beginning of the game,” Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. “You’re looking at 88s and 89s. That’s not who he is. We went in and got checked out by the trainers and felt a little bit of tightness.”
Manaea said he experienced some of the same shoulder tightness in spring training and also in 2014 when he was in the Royals organization.
Shoemaker had a long first inning as he allowed three hits, walked one and gave up two runs. He tossed four scoreless innings after that but needed to throw 100 pitches to get through five innings. He struck out six and walked two to get the Angels back to 11-12.
The Angels bullpen, which has been shuffled around constantly due to injuries, held up well.
Shoemaker is 6-1 over his last 11 home starts. He had some cushion to work with as the Angels took a 3-2 lead after the second inning. The Angels used a four-run seventh inning to ensure Shoemaker’s victory.
Athletics: RHP Daniel Mengden (on DL after right foot surgery) threw 40 pitches and could be back earlier than expected, according to Bob Melvin.
Angels: RHP Mike Morin (Disabled list with neck tightness) still has not started throwing ... 3B Luis Valbuena (disabled list with right hamstring strain) still has five or seven games of rehab needed before a return.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“I’m sure I’m biased because I’m on this team, but we’ve got the best defense in the league. Our guys behind us are always busting their butts. It’s great.” — Shoemaker
MORE HARDWARE FOR TROUT
The trophies keep coming in for two-time MVP Mike Trout. Before Wednesday’s game, he was presented with the 2016 Esurance MLB Award for best major leaguer. Angels manager Mike Scioscia had high praise for his star center fielder.
“It’s tough to compare Mike (with anyone),” Scioscia said. “I didn’t really see (a lot of) Ken Griffey Jr. when he was the same age in the American League, and I was in the other league. To really appreciate these guys, when you see them every day, talking with guys who were around Jr., he was the Trout of his time. When you see it every day and you see what Mike does, every little thing, he never misses a step.”
RHP Kendall Graveman (2-0, 2.00 ERA) is back from the disabled list after missing just one start with a minor shoulder strain. He might be on a slightly reduced pitch count.
RHP Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 4.76 ERA) had this start pushed back to work on a mechanical issue. The Angels’ opening day starter won his last start against Texas, allowing two runs, but both via home runs, in six innings.