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OC Register: Angels’ Andrew Heaney tosses 1-hit shutout on his 27th birthday

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ANAHEIM — They say age 27 marks the prime of a baseball career.

It certainly looked that way for Andrew Heaney, who pitched the best game of his career on his 27th birthday, allowing one hit in the Angels’ 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.

It was not only Heaney’s first shutout, but his first complete game, in his 39th career start. Manager Mike Scioscia let him throw a career-high 116 pitches. His previous high was 100, and he passed that in the eighth inning.

It was the Angels’ first one-hitter since 2012, when Ervin Santana did it. It was their first complete game of the season.

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Despite Heaney’s brilliance, there was a down side to the night, as shortstop Andrelton Simmons suffered a sprained right ankle slipping on the dugout steps just before the first pitch. There was no immediate word as to the severity of the injury.

Simmons still started the game, and he drew a walk in his first plate appearance. He ran gingerly to second when Mike Trout hit a ground ball. Simmons then played a second inning of defense before coming out of the game.

If the Angels are without Simmons, they could move Zack Cozart to shortstop and have Luis Valbuena and Jefry Marte play third. They could also bring back Kaleb Cowart, who was optioned earlier on Tuesday, if they have to place Simmons on the disabled list.

Beyond his Gold Glove defense, the Angels would miss Simmons’ bat. He has been one of their most consistent hitters all season, carrying a .330 average after Tuesday’s game.

Offense has been an issue for the Angels for much of the season, and they didn’t do much on Tuesday night with a short-handed lineup. Albert Pujols had a night off, and Shohei Ohtani did not play because he’s pitching on Wednesday. Simmons was also out after just one at-bat.

As a result, the Angels did little against rookie Brad Keller, with just three singles in the first four innings.

In the fifth, Chris Young and Michael Hermosillo had back-to-back singles with one out. Young then went to third on an Ian Kinsler fly ball to right.

The Angels then stole a run. Hermosillo took off from first on a delayed steal, drawing a throw. Young then bolted for the plate, and the Royals opted to let him score to get the sure third out of Hermosillo. Officially, Young scored on a fielder’s choice.

That was the only run the Angels needed, thanks to Heaney.

After snapping his streak of six straight starts allowing two earned runs or fewer, Heaney had no trouble with the Royals.

Heaney hit Jon Jay to lead off the game, and then he retired the next 13 hitters. He did not allow a hit until Hunter Dozier’s clean single into left field in the fifth. Heaney then retired the next two.

After that, Heaney retired the next seven in a row before walking Jorge Soler. He retired Dozier on a deep fly ball to end the seventh.

The Royals barely even hit any balls hard against Heaney, with just two leaving the bat at more than 100 mph.

More to come on this story.

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