The right-hander amassed a career-high 11 strikeouts in 7 1/3
innings to lead the Angels to a 6-1 victory over the Houston Astros
on Sunday in front of 33,552 at Angel Stadium. The Angels swept the
Richards (10-2) permitted one run, one walk and six hits as the
Angels won their fourth consecutive game and their ninth in a row at
"Garrett's definitely making a name for himself in the baseball
world," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "As far as pure
stuff and as far as being able to throw the ball with velocity and
movement, and spin the ball, he's in the top four or five in our
Catcher Hank Conger even devised a nickname for Richards' slider.
"It's The Devastator, definitely," Conger said. "It's a tough pitch.
It comes out late and it just has a good snap on it.
"With a lot of guys' sliders, you see a big, loopy thing coming out
of the hand. But what makes his so effective is that it comes out of
the same fastball plane."
Yet Richards' performance proved insufficient to get him on the
American League's All-Star pitching staff outright.
"It is what it is," said Richards, who is on the Final Vote online
ballot as one of five candidates for the last place on the AL
All-Star team. "It's a little disappointing, but I'm more concerned
with the team's record. I'll take a World Series over an All-Star
Game any day."
The Astros' losing streak reached seven games, matching their
longest this season.
"They took it to us in every aspect of the game," Houston manager Bo
Porter said. "We didn't help ourselves when you look at the
strikeouts and the way we played these last four games."
Right fielder Kole Calhoun led the Angels' offense. Calhoun went
3-for-3, hit a home run and scored two runs.
The Angels built a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning
against right-hander Collin McHugh on three hits, a sacrifice, a hit
batter and an error.
Designated hitter Albert Pujols lined a single past the glove of
Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez to bring Conger and Calhoun
home. Pujols moved into a tie for 41st in career RBIs with Hall of
Famer Willie McCovey. Both have 1,555 RBIs.
Left fielder Josh Hamilton, the next batter, hit a grounder to
shortstop Marwin Gonzalez, who flipped to second baseman Jose Altuve
to record the forceout at second base. Altuve caught Gonzalez's flip
barehanded and made an errant throw past first baseman Jon
Singleton, allowing Mike Trout to score.
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The Astros broke the shutout in the seventh. Center fielder Alex
Presley hit a double down the right field line and came home on a
line-drive single by catcher Carlos Corporan. Los Angeles retrieved
that run on Calhoun's ninth homer, a solo drive into the right field
Right-hander Mike Morin's alert fielding saved the Angels in the top
of eighth, when Conger and first baseman C.J. Cron had trouble
finding Singleton's pop fly in the sun. Conger tried to make the
catch, but Cron bumped him from behind, dislodging the ball.
However, Morin dived to his left to make a one-handed catch that
ended the inning.
The Angels ended the scoring in the bottom of the eighth by
combining two hits, a walk, a stolen base and an error into two
runs. Hamilton scored when Corporan threw the ball into center field
as shortstop Erick Aybar was stealing second base. Aybar moved to
third on the overthrow came home on a fielder's choice from second
baseman Howie Kendrick.
McHugh (4-8) lost his fifth consecutive decision and left the game
after four innings when the fingernail on his right middle finger
pulled away from the skin. The right-hander allowed three runs (two
earned), four hits, two walks and a hit batter while striking out
NOTES: Houston 2B Jose Altuve leads the major leagues with 122 hits,
and he tops the American League with a .337 average and 38 stolen
bases. ... The Astros recalled RHP David Martinez from Triple-A
Oklahoma City and optioned OF Domingo Santana to the same club. ...
The Astros' Enrique Hernandez made his second start in left field.
Hernandez, recalled Tuesday from Triple-A Oklahoma City, played
twice at shortstop and second base and served as a designated hitter
in his previous five games. ... Los Angeles 3B David Freese did not
make the starting lineup for the second consecutive game because of
a sore right shin. ... The Angels activated RHP Fernando Salas from
the disabled list and optioned LHP Michael Roth to Double-A
Arkansas. ... Angels DH Albert Pujols needs one home run to reach
512 in his career, which would match the totals for Hall of Famers
Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews. ... Los Angeles RHP Garrett Richards
is holding opposing batters to a .196 average, which leads the
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