Bats back Shoemaker's stellar start in shutout win

Angels righty allows just two hits, one walk over six; offense plates four runs in second

Bats back Shoemaker's stellar start in shutout win

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels had the highest-scoring offense in baseball last season, and that has continued right on into Spring Training, even without Josh Hamilton and Howie Kendrick.

Against Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Monday, the Angels' starters plated five runs in the first three innings of a 5-0 victory, which was more than enough thanks to six impressive innings by Matt Shoemaker.

Four of those runs came in the second inning alone, on back-to-back doubles by David Freese and Erick Aybar, an RBI single by Johnny Giavotella, a safety squeeze by Grant Green and another RBI single by Kole Calhoun. The Angels (11-7-1) added another run on a deep sacrifice fly by Freese in the third.

Aybar's RBI double

Ramirez, vying for a spot in the Mariners' rotation, is out of options and had a 2.00 ERA before struggling Monday.

"I started missing too much up, even when I was ahead in the count," Ramirez said. "That's what I've been working on all Spring Training, and even last year, that was the problem -- finishing the hitters. That's what happened in the second inning."

Shoemaker retired the first 13 batters and finished giving up just two hits and a walk to drop his Cactus League ERA to 4.85. The Mariners (9-9) had two on in the sixth, on a walk by Rickie Weeks and an error by Aybar, but Shoemaker got back-to-back groundouts to keep the Angels' division rivals off the board.

After that, Shoemaker went to the bullpen to throw extra pitches, because he was too efficient through six innings.

"It's a step in the right direction," Shoemaker said. "That's what we're going for. We're here to get ready for a season. We always want to win, as much as we can, but in spring, it's getting ready for that. So when you can put games together like this, it's huge."

Calhoun's RBI single

The Angels entered Monday leading the Majors in Spring Training batting average at .301 and five of their regulars -- Mike Trout, C.J. Cron, Matt Joyce, Calhoun and Albert Pujols -- were batting above .300.

One of the Mariners' hits was a double by catcher Mike Zunino, who's batting .357 in Cactus League play.

Young right-hander Jordan Pries threw three scoreless innings of relief for Seattle and lowered his Cactus League ERA to 1.64 over 11 innings. The former Stanford standout is destined for a starting spot in Triple-A Tacoma, but has shown well this spring with just six hits, three walks and nine strikeouts in four appearances.

"He did a nice job," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "Threw strikes, in and out, held runners well. He did a nice job. I said three weeks ago I was impressed with him and he hasn't disappointed. He continues to show a lot of poise, the ability to throw strikes and get after it pretty good."

Monday marked the first of two meetings between the Angels and Mariners, who will also face off in Peoria, Ariz., next Monday. The clubs open the regular season in Seattle April 6-8.

Up next: Rotation candidate Andrew Heaney gets his fourth Cactus League start when the Angels travel to Surprise, Ariz., to face the Rangers on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. PT on MLB.TV. Heaney, who will oppose right-hander Nick Tepesch, gave up six runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Dodgers his last time out. Five of those runs came in a rough second inning in which Heaney continually left his pitches up in the strike zone. Chris Iannetta had Monday off and will probably catch, with Cron and Collin Cowgill potentially starting, too.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.