ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Two misplaced pitches to Adam Jones cost Los Angeles Angels rookie Matt Shoemaker in an otherwise dominant outing against the Baltimore Orioles.
Jones hit a pair of two-run homers, including a tiebreaking shot in the sixth inning, and the AL East leaders beat the Angels 4-2 Monday night.
Shoemaker (7-3) gave up four runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings, striking out 10 and walking none. The loss left Los Angeles two games behind first-place Oakland in the AL West.
“It’s a tough loss for Matt. I thought he threw the ball extremely well,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “For not having pitched in 14 days, to be able to get to that point in the game was great.”
Jones, who didn’t make it past the second round in last week’s All-Star Home Run Derby, opened the scoring in the first with a drive into the left-field bullpen after a single by Nick Markakis.
Shoemaker retired his next 15 batters – striking out eight – before Markakis doubled with one out in the sixth. One out later, Jones hit his 19th homer to left-center for a 4-2 lead.
“The first at-bat, just got behind in the count,” Shoemaker said. “It was 2-0 and I came back with a fastball – obviously a pretty bad fastball. It was up, and he hit it out. Next at-bat it was a slider that backed up and ended up fairly down, but in the middle of the plate.”
Jones’ multihomer game was the fifth of his career.
“I didn’t know anything about him, but that’s what scouting reports are for,” Jones said. “We had an idea of what he throws, but nobody had seen him. So when you go up there, the best way to figure things out is trial and error. I swing. I’m hacking. Sometimes you run into them. He gave up two home runs, but overall, his plan worked. He had a lot of strikeouts.”
The Angels tied it 2-all in the fourth when Howie Kendrick led off with a ground-rule double and scored on Hank Conger’s sharp single to right. A two-out infield hit by Kole Calhoun loaded the bases for All-Star game MVP Mike Trout, who took a called third strike and immediately got into umpire Eric Cooper’s face – but didn’t get ejected.
“It was a big pitch in the game,” Trout said. “The count could have gone to 3-2, so you never know what could have happened. I thought it was a ball. It looked outside, but what are you going to do?”
Trout was called out on strikes again his next time up and had more to say to Cooper before Scioscia came out to make sure his power-hitting center fielder stayed in the game.
“There was a wide zone for both clubs, I think, and you have to live with it,” Scioscia said. “It’s part of what we talk about. You have to absorb the pitch you don’t get or the pitch that’s called against you.”
Bud Norris (8-6) won for the fifth time in his last six starts, allowing two runs – one earned – and eight hits over 6 2-3 innings with eight strikeouts and two walks. The Orioles increased their AL East lead to four games over the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays.
Norris was recalled from Double-A Bowie, where he was optioned on July 10 in order to keep him on his regular routine during the All-Star break. The Orioles did the same thing with Tuesday’s scheduled starter, Miguel Gonzalez, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on July 11.
Zach Britton pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save.
Setup man Darren O’Day, who began his big league career with the Angels in 2008, pitched a perfect eighth to lower his ERA to 1.04 – the best among AL relievers.
“I’ve always had an affinity for him from afar, and I’ve always hoped I could have him on a club,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
NOTES: Albert Pujols flied out on a 3-0 pitch in the fifth. The three-time NL MVP is batting .432 in his career on 3-0 counts (32 for 74) with six homers and 22 RBIs. … The Angels, who came in leading the majors in runs, didn’t get a hit after Josh Hamilton’s one-out single in the fifth.