BOSTON (AP) — Hours after a devastating blow to the Los Angeles rotation, the Angels were reassured and relieved by rookie starter Matt Shoemaker.
Shoemaker threw 6 2-3 inning of no-hit ball and the Angels held on for a 2-0 victory against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night, completing a four-game sweep and taking a two-game lead in the AL West.
“I didn’t even really know or think about it until about the fifth or sixth,” Shoemaker said. “It was just one of those things — work and focus on pitches, who’s coming up and then you realize where they are in the order.”
The only hit Shoemaker (12-4) allowed was a double to Will Middlebrooks with two outs in the seventh. It was the only hit Boston got all night and welcome timing for the Angels, whose bullpen was weary with a cross-country flight ahead and huge series opening at Oakland on Friday.
The Angels were also dealing with confirmation that Garrett Richards (13-4) is out for the season with a knee injury that occurred Wednesday while covering first on a potential double play.
“I think it’s really uplifting. I think it’s important. There’s going to be a lot of attention on our rotation obviously with Garrett not going to be part of it,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “You can’t say enough about what Matty did tonight.”
Shoemaker struck out nine before a two-out walk to Mookie Betts in the eighth ended his night. It was the only walk for Shoemaker, who struck out nine. Jason Grilli pitched the ninth for his 12th save of the season and first with the Angels since coming to Los Angeles in a deal with Pittsburgh on June 27.
The Angels have won four straight and eight of nine, taking a two-game lead over the A’s into this weekend’s series at Oakland.
Josh Hamilton hit an RBI double in the first and Kole Calhoun hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh for Los Angeles’ only other run. It was all the offense the Angels needed.
Shoemaker said he was thinking about Richards (13-5) as he warmed up Thursday.
“Up until gametime, it was really heavy on my mind. During the game, I was trying to focus on pitching which I think was good thing because that’s what G does,” he said. “It’s a detrimental loss to us but we’re all going to fight hard to pick him up and we’re just going to keep getting stronger from it.”
Rubby De La Rosa (4-5) pitched 6 2-3 innings, allowing two runs eight hits and getting himself out of a couple of jams as he tied his career high with eight strikeouts. Boston was able to cut off potential rallies for the Angels in the first and seventh, holding them to run in each and staying within reach throughout Shoemaker’s no-hit bid.
“We couldn’t get anything going against him. He’s been very consistent for them,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
After hitting Boston leadoff batter Brock Holt, Shoemaker retired 20 straight before facing Middlebrooks with two outs in the seventh.
Shoemaker is the first Angels rookie with 12 wins since Ervin Santana went 12-8 in 2005.
Angels 1B Albert Pujols was thrown out in the sixth after striking out and getting all the way back to the dugout. Scioscia said he hadn’t heard Pujols say anything worthy of getting tossed and went to the plate to argue with umpire Andy Fletcher, who tossed the Los Angeles manager, too.
Angels: The Angels announced after the game that Richards will have surgery on Friday. The Angels selected the contract of left-hander Wade LeBlanc, from Triple-A Salt Lake and placed Richards on the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster.
Red Sox: LF Yoenis Cespedes left the game after three innings for an undisclosed personal reason, the Red Sox said. Manager John Farrell said after the game that it was a family emergency, but could not elaborate. Boston activated Allen Craig (sprained left foot) from the 15-day disabled list and started him at 1B Thursday night.
Angels: LHP Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.46 ERA) gets the start in the AL West showdown as the Angels open a weekend series at second-place Oakland.
Red Sox: RHP Joe Kelly (0-1, 5.2 9) tries again in his second start at Fenway Park as a member of the Red Sox when they open a weekend series against Seattle. Kelly was tagged for seven run on seven hits in four innings Sunday in a loss to the Houston Astros.
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