Los Angeles records second straight shutout of visiting Chicago
By Fabian Ardaya and Scott Merkin
ANAHEIM -- Matt Shoemaker was brilliant at Angel Stadium yet again Saturday night, tossing his first career shutout to secure a 1-0 Angels victory over the Chicago White Sox.
The Angels jumped on White Sox starter James Shields early, as Yunel Escobar lined a leadoff triple into the gap and scored on Mike Trout's groundout to take the lead. That was all they would get off Shields, who allowed just the run on two hits in eight innings. He would get no help from his offense, which extended its scoreless streak to 32 innings and has not scored since the third inning on July 9 against the Braves .
Shoemaker tossed a gem, working his first career complete game while striking out a career-high 13 White Sox hitters and walking none. The White Sox threatened in the ninth, putting runners on the corners with one out before Shoemaker recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end it.
"It was an exceptional effort [from Shoemaker], especially getting a little tired at the end," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "But we all felt he had enough to get through, and he got a big strikeout of [Todd Frazier], and then [Justin Morneau] to end the game."
The Angels have not allowed a run since the All-Star break, including 16 scoreless frames from their two starters.
Los Angeles is winners of six of its last eight games, while Chicago has lost four of its last five.
Shields used 91 pitches in a strong effort. After Escobar's leadoff triple, the right-hander didn't allow another hit until Ji-Man Choi's one-out double in the eighth. Over his last four starts, Shields is 2-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 33 1/3 innings.
"There's not very many times that the leadoff hitter decides the game," Shields said. "That's a tough loss right there. We definitely want to win those games, there's no doubt about it. But we've just got to move on and start playing better baseball."
Shoe shine: Shoemaker has simply been dominant at home as of late, posting a 0.79 ERA over his last six starts there. He picked up just his second win in those starts. It was the fourth time this season Shoemaker has recorded 10 or more strikeouts.
"He was effective. He was getting strike one, getting ahead, and he pitched well," said Shields of his mound counterpart. "You've got to tip your cap to him."
Morneau, more now: After grounding out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth during Friday's loss, Justin Morneau started as the designated hitter Saturday and finished 0-for-4. He hit three balls hard, including a lineout to Trout in the seventh, but struck out on three pitches with runners on the corners to end the game. The White Sox had a runner on second and nobody out and then runners on the corners with one out in the ninth.
"Offensively, we're struggling," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We've got to figure out a way to get around it and start putting some runs on the board, especially with what [Miguel Gonzalez] did [Friday] and what Shields did tonight. Both those guys pitched great, and we've got to figure out how to get some runs on the board."
All you need is one: Escobar gave the Angels just the start they wanted -- a triple just over center fielder J.B. Shuck's glove and off the wall. Two batters later, he scored on a grounder. From that point on, the Angels' offense sputtered. They had two runners reach base on an error and a walk, and were unable to record another hit until Choi's double in the eighth.
"[Shoemaker] had to pitch with his back against the wall," Scioscia said. "We got the one early run, we didn't pressure Shields well the rest of the game."
"We can't worry about how many innings we have not scored in. If we do that, we are going to grip the baseball a little tighter and grip the bats a little tighter and try to do too much. We need to go out and play our game."-- Eaton
"We're going to get right back on track tomorrow. I have faith in our guys, and we're a good squad." -- Shields
According to STATS LLC, the White Sox current 32-inning scoreless streak marked the seventh time since 1912 the White Sox have not scored in at least 30 straight innings. They went 30 scoreless last season. The franchise record is 39, from May 22 to the seventh inning of May 26, 1968.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox:Jacob Turner comes up from Triple-A Charlotte to finish the series against the Angels and make his White Sox debut on Sunday at 2:35 p.m. CT. The right-hander, temporarily taking Carlos Rodon's rotation spot, has a 4-7 record and 4.71 ERA over 18 starts for the Knights this season.
Angels:Jered Weaver (7-7, 5.27 ERA) takes the ball in Sunday's series finale against the White Sox. He was strong in his last start before the All-Star break, tossing six innings of one-run ball. First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. PT.