ANAHEIM: Tim Lincecum, nicknamed “The Freak” for his ability to generate powerful pitches from his slight physique, is expected to debut with the Angels later this week after making his third triple-A start on Sunday.
The former San Francisco Giants star and two-time Cy Young Award winner will join an Angels rotation that includes “The Control Freak,” right-hander Matt Shoemaker, who took another walk on the not-so-wild side on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Shoemaker’s four-pitch free pass to Carlos Santana in the seventh inning ended a streak of 49 strikeouts since his last walk on May 16, the third-longest streak in baseball since 1974 behind Curt Schilling (56) and Greg Maddux (53). The string spanned five games and 155 batters faced.
That did nothing to detract from a superb eight-inning effort in which Shoemaker blanked the Cleveland Indians on three hits and struck out 11 in Angel Stadium, but closer Huston Street robbed Shoemaker of a win by giving up three runs on four hits in the ninth for his first blown save of the season.
The night ended well for the Angels when Brendan Ryan singled to lead off the bottom of the ninth, took second on Jett Bandy’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Yunel Escobar’s bloop single to center for a 4-3 walk-off win that ended the Angels’ losing streak at five.
Shoemaker, featuring a fastball that touched 95 mph and a dirt-diving split-fingered fastball, pitched around Santana’s one-out double in the second and struck out five in a row in the fourth and fifth innings.
Shoemaker was disappointing in his first six starts, sporting a 1-5 record and 9.12 earned-run average on May 11. In six starts since, he is 3-2 with a 2.28 ERA, 53 strikeouts and three walks in 431/3 innings.
He departed with a 3-0 lead and a pitch count of 108, but Street failed to hold it in the ninth, giving up consecutive one-out singles to Jose Ramirez, Mike Napoli and Santana for a run, Lonnie Chisenhall’s sacrifice fly and Tyler Naquin’s two-out RBI single to right that made it 3-3.
The Angels broke a scoreless tie in the fourth when Mike Trout singled off starter Trevor Bauer, took second when Chisenhall bobbled the hit in right and scored on Jefry Marte’s double into the left-field corner.
Marte started over C.J. Cron for the third time in four games. He has two homers, a double and four RBIs in those games.
“The ball really comes off his bat hot,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He can break games open by hitting the ball out of the park, and he’s shown some plate discipline, getting some good pitches to hit and not missing them.”
The Indians threatened in the seventh when Napoli singled and Santana walked, Shoemaker’s first since he walked Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson in the second inning on May 16.
Chisenhall flied to deep left field, a ball Todd Cunningham, called up from triple-A Saturday, caught the ball near the warning track. Napoli tagged, but Cunningham fired a strong one-hop throw to third to nail him. Juan Uribe flied to center to end the inning.
The Angels tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh, a rally Johnny Giavotella sparked with a one-out single to center. Bandy’s hit-and-run single through a vacated shortstop hole advanced Giavotella to third.
Gregorio Petit grounded out to the mound, the runners holding, and Escobar walked to load the bases with two outs.
Kole Calhoun, who popped to shortstop in his previous two at-bats, followed with another popup to shallow left, but this one fell to the grass. Two runs scored to give the Angels a 3-0 lead.