DETROIT — Matt Shoemaker pitched one-hit ball into the eighth inning in his hometown ballpark, Albert Pujols drove in one run and scored another and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Detroit Tigers 2-0 Thursday.
The Angels began the day trailing Minnesota by one game for the second American League wild-card spot, with Texas also a half-game ahead of them.
Angels catcher Carlos Perez got a big assist in the win, too. Two of them, in fact, as he picked off Anthony Gose at first base and later threw him out trying to steal second.
Shoemaker (6-9) went to high school about 30 minutes from Comerica Park and attended Eastern Michigan University, a school that has a large ad on the right field fence. He dominated the Tigers in his first game in Detroit, permitting just a single by Gose in the third.
Shoemaker walked one and struck out five in 7 1-3 innings.
Huston Street pitched the ninth for his 31st save, finishing the combined two-hitter.
Randy Wolf (0-2) pitched well enough to win in his second start since June 2014. He gave up one run on five hits and two walks in seven innings, striking out five.
The Angels broke the scoreless tie with two outs in the sixth. Wolf walked Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols followed with a RBI single to left.
Pujols got into a rundown between first and second, but was tagged out before Trout was able to get to the plate with a second run.
In the meantime, the Tigers kept losing runners on the basepaths, something they do more often than any team in baseball. Picked off early, the speedy Gose was then nabbed by Perez in the sixth.
Detroit leads the American League in runners caught stealing and grounding into double plays, and is among the leaders in both runners picked off and thrown out at the plate.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia pulled Shoemaker after he retired Victor Martinez to start the eighth, and the move almost didn't work. J.D. Martinez hit Joe Smith's first pitch into left-center for a triple, but Smith struck out Nick Castellanos and retired Alex Avila to end the inning.
Los Angeles loaded the bases in the ninth against Bruce Rondon, and Shane Victorino had a sacrifice fly.
Angels: 2B Grant Green returned to the lineup after leaving Tuesday's game with right knee soreness and sitting out Wednesday.
Tigers: RHP Shane Greene was scheduled to have season-ending surgery Thursday in Dallas to repair a weakened blood vessel in his right shoulder that has pressed against a nerve, causing numbness in his pitching hand. Greene should be ready for offseason conditioning and spring training.
Angels: Los Angeles flies across Lake Erie to start a three-game series in Cleveland with Andrew Heaney (5-2, 3.39) facing Danny Salazar (11-7, 3.30) in the opener. Heaney gave up a career-worst eight runs in his last start.
Tigers: Detroit also remains in the Great Lakes, playing Toronto in a weekend series at Rogers Centre. Former Blue Jays pitcher Matt Boyd (1-2, 4.88) faces R.A. Dickey (8-10, 4.26) in Friday night's opener.