Garrett Richards ended the Angels six-game road trip much the same way he opened it last Friday: stymying hitters through seven quality innings. Richards struck out eight and scattered five hits Wednesday afternoon as the Angels shut out Philadelphia 3-0 to sweep a quick two-game set.
The right-hander coasted through the first five frames before Chase Utley’s second double of the game placed runners in scoring position. Richards (4-0) subsequently struck out Ryan Howard and got Marlon Byrd to pop out in foul territory. He didn’t issue a walk for the first time this season and lowers his ERA to a team-leading 2.42.
Albert Pujols snapped out of a 0-for-15 skid with a first inning double to deep right, and scored on Raul Ibanez’s two-out RBI single. It was Pujols’ 534th career double; tying him with Lou Gehrig for 33rd on the all-time list. The struggling first baseman is hitting .264 and hasn’t homered since a May 4 contest with Texas.
Newcomer Efren Navarro earned his second RBI of the road trip with a two-out single that scored Hank Conger and gave the Angels a 2-0 lead. Navarro is 5-for-14 with three extra-base hits and three runs scored since replacing Nick Maronde on the 25-man roster.
Erick Aybar’s RBI double in the third proved to be more than enough for Richards. Phillies starter A.J. Burnett (2-3) didn’t allow a hit beyond Aybar’s but walked four from that point on. Burnett struggled through five innings, yielding seven hits and walking five in dropping his second straight decision.
Mike Trout’s homecoming series ends with two hits and a walk in 10 plate appearances. Over 4,000 fans from nearby Millville, N.J. traveled to Philadelphia last night the two-time All-Star and many stayed for Wednesday’s matinee.
The Angels sweep their first road series of the season and move three games above .500 for the first time since 2012. Meanwhile, Philadelphia drops their third straight falling to a season-low four games under.