Sports

Shoemaker latest Angel to pitch superbly in series sweep of A's

The Angels celebrate their 8-0 victory against the Athletics on Sunday. KYUSUNG GONG, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

ANAHEIM – The Oakland Athletics are the team that built a starting rotation with four All-Star caliber starters, and they lined them all up to pitch at Angel Stadium.

The Angels, meanwhile, couldn’t even scrape together four starters for the series, turning to a conga line of eight relievers in one game.

So, of course, baseball being the unpredictable game it is, the Angels swept the A’s, finishing them off with a 8-1 victory on Sunday, mostly because of dominant pitching.

“If you are facing the caliber of pitchers we faced in this series, first and foremast you need to pitch well,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “We did.”

The Angels allowed four runs in the series, including a 29-inning scoreless streak that ended in the eighth inning on Sunday. It was the third longest streak in Angels history.

Matt Shoemaker pitched seven innings, extending his personal scoreless streak to 231/3 innings.

He’s the first Angels pitcher to have three consecutive scoreless outings of at least seven innings since Nolan Ryan in 1976-77. The last Angels pitcher to have three in a row in one season was Rudy May in 1973.

Shoemaker (14-4) also equaled the franchise record for victories in a rookie season.

While Shoemaker was tossing zeros and the sellout crowd of 44,205 was getting more and more excited at the impending sweep, the pressure was boiling in the Oakland dugout.

After the game, it burst. Manager Bob Melvin called a team meeting, then told reporters that the series was “embarrassing” and “pathetic” before he angrily cut off the interview.

Meanwhile, across the hall, the Angels were trying not to get too excited.

“We’re having fun, but it’s still August,” said Mike Trout, accurate by a matter of hours.

The Angels have a five-game lead with 26 games to go. Of course, three weeks ago they were four games back.

“It can go the other way just as fast,” Chris Iannetta said. “We have a lot of baseball left. You could find yourselves 10 games back by the end the season. You don’t think that, but you just keep perspective. We’ve got to keep grinding.”

Contact the writer: jlfletcher@ocregister.com

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