SEATTLE — For a few minutes, Kyle Seager stopped caring about baseball and the Seattle Mariners’ slide that has them on the edge of falling out of playoff contention. His mind went elsewhere with Matt Shoemaker lying on the ground, being tended to by trainers after taking a line drive off his head.
“It’s kind of like, ‘Screw baseball, who cares about the game?’ You are just worried about him,” Seager said. “You see him sitting there on the ground and all the trainers and doctors out there and you really don’t care that much about a stupid game at that point.”
Shoemaker was hospitalized after taking a line drive to the head in the Los Angeles Angels’ 4-2 win over the Mariners on Sunday.
Shoemaker was hit on the right side of his head with one out in the second inning on a line drive from Seager. The Seattle third baseman ended a lengthy at-bat by squaring up a fastball, striking it with an exit velocity of 105 mph, according to MLB Statcast. Shoemaker was able to turn his head slightly to avoid a direct blow to his face but was unable to get his mitt up in time.
After the game, the Angels announced that a CT scan revealed Shoemaker suffered a small skull fracture and small hematoma. He was to be seen by a neurologist and remain in Seattle overnight for observation.
“It just gives you that feeling where you have a pit in your stomach,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Shoemaker was down for several minutes and bleeding from the spot where he was hit. Teammates knelt around the mound and Seager anxiously watched while Shoemaker was tended to. Shoemaker never appeared to lose consciousness.
“You see guys get hit. It happens. We were talking about it on the field — how many times you see balls go whizzing by guys’ heads and everything,” Seager said. “It’s definitely scary. For it to hit him square, I didn’t see where the ball landed, but I saw it bounce off really far. That was really bad.”
Far secondary to Shoemaker’s condition, the Angels took two of three in the series, providing another damaging blow to Seattle’s fleeting postseason hopes. The Mariners have dropped seven of eight with AL West-leading Texas coming in for a four-game series starting Monday, likely Seattle’s last opportunity to get back into the wild-card race.
Albert Pujols and C.J. Cron hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning and six relievers combined to shut down Seattle after Shoemaker was struck.
After Shoemaker walked off the field with trainers on both sides, the Angels leaned on their bullpen. Deolis Guerra (3-0) was the first of the relievers to enter, followed by Jose Alvarez, Mike Morin, Cody Ege and JC Ramirez. Robinson Cano hit his 31st homer off Ege in the sixth and Nelson Cruz hit his 35th in the eighth off Ramirez, both solo shots.
But that was all the Angels allowed, and Andrew Bailey pitched the ninth for his first save.
“You would think that we would be able to put something together against them,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “We had guys on. We certainly had opportunities, just didn’t get the big hit or the hit to fall in.”
FIRST INNING WOES
The Angels hit seven first-inning home runs in the three-game series. Pujols hit his 29th homer of the season off Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma (14-11) with two outs in the first and Cron followed with his 15th home run moments later.
“Both of those pitches were up in the zone,” Iwakuma said through an interpreter.
Pujols added an RBI single in the sixth inning off Iwakuma, and Andrelton Simmons had an RBI single in the eighth inning off reliever Dan Altavilla. Iwakuma went seven innings, giving up eight hits and the three runs.
Seattle added depth to its overused bullpen by activating RHP Drew Storen and recalling LHP David Rollins on Sunday. Storen had been sidelined by shoulder inflammation and the pair gives Servais a few more options for the later innings with Seattle’s starters struggling to get deep into games of late.
Angels: Jered Weaver (10-11) makes his 27th start as the Angels open a series in Oakland. Weaver got the win in his last start against Cincinnati.
Mariners: Felix Hernandez (9-5) looks to rebound from one of his worst outings of the season as Seattle opens a series against Texas. Hernandez allowed six earned runs in four innings in a loss to the Rangers last Wednesday.