Former University of Kentucky standout James Paxton took a four-hitter into ninth inning before he was forced from the game after being hit on the left arm by a line drive, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-1 on Sunday.
Mike Freeman, making his Mariners debut after being called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Tacoma, had his first two major league hits, including an RBI single to cap a three-run fourth inning.
Paxton (4-5) was on the verge of his first career complete game when he was hit with one out in the ninth by the line drive from Andrelton Simmons, who reached on the infield single.
“I just feel sick to my stomach for him and everybody involved, to pitch the ballgame he did,” Seattle Manager Scott Servais said. “It was an opportunity for him to try to close it out. I thought his stuff was great and I felt good about having him out there in the ninth inning.”
The Seattle Times reported that X-rays on Paxton’s left elbow were negative and that the official diagnosis was a contusion.
Tom Wilhelmsen got the final two outs for his first save. Paxton struck out six with one walk in 8 1/3 innings.
“It’s awful, clearly,” Wilhelmsen said. “He was throwing a gem and did everything he did to really help a taxing bullpen right now. He just did a tremendous job and you’d like to see him finish that off. A laser beam like that off any part of your body, let alone your throwing arm, is really scary.”
Matt Shoemaker (6-12) allowed three runs on seven hits in seven innings, striking out three, but hitting three batters.
Seattle erased a 1-0 deficit with three runs in the fourth inning, although the Angels prevented a bigger inning with two stellar defensive plays.
Seth Smith, Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz opened with consecutive singles for the first run. After Adam Lind was hit by a pitch to load the bases, center fielder Mike Trout prevented a grand slam with a leaping catch above the wall on Leonys Martin’s sacrifice fly that made it 2-1.
Mike Zunino then bounced to shortstop Simmons, who threw out Cruz at home. Freeman, who singled in his first at-bat in the third, followed with an RBI single.
The Angels pushed across an unearned run in the third after shortstop Sean O'Malley booted Shane Robinson’s one-out chopper. Robinson came around on singles by Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols.
Trout, celebrating his 25th birthday, struck out four times for the fourth time in his career. The last was Sept. 7, 2014, with three of those coming against Paxton.
“I can’t pick his stuff up. I don’t know. It was just one of those days,” Trout said. “Just not picking it up, not getting my foot down.”