If his first pitch was any indication, Garrett Richards was in for a special night.
Leadoff hitter Dee Gordon saw consecutive 99 MPH fastballs whiz by before making contact. His Dodgers teammates held similar success as Richards (12-4) tossed his first career complete game shutout while earning his first-ever win at Dodger Stadium.
The young right-hander yielded a combined eight runs over his last two outings but seamlessly drilled through Los Angeles’ lineup, scattering five hits while striking out nine. The Dodgers were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and never moved beyond second base.
On a night when their starter didn’t need much run support, the Angels gave Richards a 4-0 first-inning lead. Facing former Halo Zack Greinke, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols notched consecutive RBI doubles and Erick Aybar followed with a fielder’s choice to score Pujols.
Aybar cruised to second on Greinke’s (12-7) wild pitch – one of two on the night- and Howie Kendrick feebly grounded to shortstop. Hanley Ramirez’s throw should have ended the inning but it bounced into seats near first base, scoring Aybar and moving Kendrick into scoring position. David Freese’s RBI single capped mistake-riddled inning from the NL West division leaders.
Josh Hamilton’s sixth-inning solo home run put the exclamation mark on a 5-0 victory. His third homer of the road trip was only the second career hit off Greinke after going 1-for-22.
Pujols added salt to the Dodgers’ wound when he tagged up from first base on a fly ball to Yasiel Puig. Puig lazily tracked Hamilton’s pop fly to center but didn’t mind Pujols, who sped back to first in anticipation.
As the inning ended, Pujols playfully wagged his index finger in Puig’s direction, mimicking what the Dodgers’ center fielder had done two innings prior.
The Angels jump to 57-40 against the Dodgers all-time, dating back to 1997, and remain within one game of AL West-leading Oakland. They have won or tied every Freeway Series since 2006.
It was a milestone night for Mike Scioscia as well, whose 1,300th wins is fourth most among first-time managers.