9:05 PM ET, July 26, 2014
Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California
Matt Shoemaker throws 7 shutout innings to help Angels beat Tigers
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- All season long, Matt Shoemaker has been jockeying for a permanent spot in the Los Angeles Angels' rotation after making the Opening Day roster as a reliever. After what he's accomplished against some of the top pitchers in the majors, his starting status appears to be secure.
Shoemaker combined with two relievers on a four-hitter, and Efren Navarro connected off Justin Verlander for his first major league homer to help the Angels beat the Detroit Tigers 4-0 Saturday night.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports
Matt Shoemaker is unbeaten with a 2.27 ERA against aces Cliff Lee, David Price, James Shields, Chris Sale and Yu Darvish in his rookie season.
Verlander (9-9) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings with four strikeouts and a walk. The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner was the latest in a series of All-Stars that Shoemaker has more than held his own against this year -- including Cliff Lee, David Price, James Shields, Chris Sale and Yu Darvish. The rookie is 4-0 in those starts with a 2.27 ERA.
"It's definitely a confidence builder. It's a blessing and a lot of fun," Shoemaker said. "But I try not to focus on who the opposing pitcher is -- just the hitters that I'm facing."
The AL Central leaders were shut out for the fifth time this season, and their division lead over Kansas City was reduced to five games.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus received an automatic ejection from plate umpire Cory Blaser in the third after he came out of the dugout to argue a call at first base that was reversed after a video review.
Navarro found the seats above the 18-foot wall in right-center on a 1-1 pitch from Verlander, who has given up at least one homer in 10 of his past 12 starts. Navarro also singled home the go-ahead run Friday night against Drew Smyly in a 2-1 victory after the Tigers lefty struck out eight of his first 10 batters and 11 overall.
Justin Verlander has allowed at least two runs in each of his 22 starts this season, which is tied for the longest streak by a Tigers pitcher to begin a season in the past 100 years.
"For the most part, I was executing OK," Verlander said. "Early on I didn't feel great, but then I kind of started to find my rhythm. The one pitch I regret was hanging a curveball (to Cron), and he was able to hit it down the line. If I had executed better, then it's only a two-run lead and we've got a chance to come back. It's a big difference between two runs and three."
Angels first-time All-Star Erick Aybar started in the cleanup spot for the first time in his nine-year career, going 2-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt. Left fielder Josh Hamilton sat out because of a sore left knee.
Aybar came in with 51 RBIs, the most among AL shortstops, and was 9-for-27 in his career against Verlander.
"He's a good ballplayer," Verlander said. "He's tough to strike out and he puts the ball in play a lot. He can do the little things -- move guys over and put a bunt down when he needs to."
Nine-time Gold Glove winner Torii Hunter robbed Mike Trout of a hit in the first with a tumbling, shoestring catch in short right field. But Hunter's fielding error in the eighth allowed Aybar to take an extra base on a single, and he scored on Kendrick's double against Joakim Soria -- making his Tigers debut following Wednesday night's trade from Texas.
Verlander, third on the Tigers' career strikeout list behind Mickey Lolich and Jack Morris, has 28 double-digit strikeout games in his big league career -- but none this year in 22 starts. This is the deepest he's gone into a season without one since 2006, his first year as a full-time starter in the majors, when he made 30 starts and had no more than eight Ks in any of them. ... The Angels optioned RHP Fernando Salas to Triple-A Salt Lake and recalled OF J.B. Shuck from their Pacific Coast League club. Shuck last played for the Angels on May 2 before getting sent down. ... Verlander was the second overall selection in the 2004 draft behind San Diego Padres pick Matt Bush, who never played in the big leagues. Three of the top seven selections in that draft have pitched no-hitters, including Homer Bailey (two) and Philip Humber (perfect game).
ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 26: Justin Verlander#35 of the Detroit Tigers throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels...(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Regular Season Series
|2nd||E Navarro homered to right (407 feet).||0||1|
|6th||E Navarro grounded out to shortstop, A Pujols scored, H Kendrick to second.||0||2|
|6th||C Cron doubled to left, H Kendrick scored.||0||3|
|8th||H Kendrick singled to left, E Aybar scored, H Kendrick to second advancing on throw.||0||4|
|View complete Play-By-Play|
|Stadium||Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, CA|
|Attendance||43,569 (95.8% full) - % is based on regular season capacity|
|Weather||83 degrees, clear|
|Umpires||Home Plate - Cory Blaser, First Base - Jim Joyce, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - Doug Eddings|
Justin Verlander has allowed at least 2 runs in each of his 22 starts this season. That's tied for the 2nd-longest streak by a Tigers pitcher to begin a season in the last 100 years.[+]
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