ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Although Nathan Eovaldi feels good when he takes the mound, he can’t stop making mistakes with high strikes and bad counts.
Against an opponent with the best record in baseball, Eovaldi’s errors spelled doom for the Miami Marlins.
Mike Trout had an RBI double and Albert Pujols added a two-run single during Los Angeles’ five-run fourth inning, and the Angels regained sole possession of the AL West lead with an 8-2 victory Tuesday night.
Eovaldi (6-9) gave up 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings while dropping his third straight start for the Marlins, who have lost four of six.
"My arm feels great," Eovaldi said. "It’s probably the best I’ve felt in my career. No issues. It’s extremely discouraging and real frustrating. I’m just going through a rough little rut right now, so I have to keep grinding and work through it."
The hard-throwing right-hander isn’t sure how to get his career out of this jam, although manager Mike Redmond has a few ideas about keeping the ball down and maintaining composure.
"It’s definitely a concern," Redmond said. "I mean, three innings. That makes it tough to win a game in crunch time, where every start is big and every one of these games is big. It’s a missed opportunity for us. We’ve got to have guys step up and log those innings. It puts a tough toll on our bullpen when we’ve got to eat up six innings."
Bouncing back solidly from Miami’s blowout win in the series opener, the Angels chased Eovaldi after their first six batters reached base in the fourth. Pujols then delivered a 6-0 lead on reliever Sam Dyson’s first pitch.
Miami didn’t get a runner to second base until Garrett Jones’ two-out, two-strike double in the ninth. Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s ensuing RBI double allowed the Marlins to avoid their first shutout loss since June 21.
Giancarlo Stanton went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.
Matt Shoemaker (13-4) yielded two hits over seven scoreless innings as the Angels (78-53) moved one game ahead of the AL West rival Oakland Athletics, who lost to Houston.
Five days after Shoemaker took a no-hitter into the seventh inning at Fenway Park, he walked two and struck out six while holding his seventh straight opponent to fewer than two earned runs.
Trout slowed his August slump with three hits, and Efren Navarro drove in two runs as the Angels pounded out 16 hits in their 10th victory in 14 games.
"We had a couple of great at-bats tonight from everybody," Trout said.
Six Angels drove in a run as their lineup bounced back from a poor series opener.
FAITH IN EOVALDI
Despite Eovaldi’s slump, Redmond said the youngster is still scheduled to start the Marlins’ road trip finale in Atlanta on Sunday.
Shoemaker is the first undrafted, American-born rookie to win at least 13 games since John Montefusco won 15 for the Giants in 1975. He also became just the fourth pitcher in Angels history to make consecutive starts with at least 7 shutout innings and two or fewer hits, joining a group including Nolan Ryan.
Marlins: Reliever Bryan Morris was sent back to Miami after feeling discomfort in his right hip.
Angels: The Angels designated LHP Wade LeBlanc for assignment and recalled reliever Yoslan Herrera to add fresh arms to their weary bullpen. Herrera pitched the ninth, giving up both Miami runs.
Marlins: Henderson Alvarez (10-5, 2.57 ERA) pitches the series finale.
Angels: Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.38) attempts to add to his late-season surge in his first career start against the Marlins.