Richards Struggles, Astros Halt Angels’ Ninth-Inning Rally
May 19, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) moves out of the way of Los Angeles Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick (47) to complete the double play during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Garrett Richards would rather forget the first three frames of Monday night’s game happened. He allowed Houston’s first five batters to reached base, committed a run-scoring error, and threw 27 first-inning pitches in the Angels 5-0 loss. Everything that could go wrong went wrong for the right-hander in the first. Jose Altuve lined Richards’ fastball into left field and could have been picked off at second if Grant Green would have taken a more proactive approach. After Altuve advanced to third on a wild pitch, Richards inexplicably tried to pick him off, instead flailing the ball well behind Luis Jimenez and down the left field line. Richards (4-1) settled down in the fourth, limiting the Astros to two hits from that point forward. He pitched seven innings, yielding five earned runs on 10 hits in his worst outing since surrendering the same run total to Oakland April 15. His first loss also includes a season-low one strikeout. Conversely, Houston starter Dallas Keuchel (5-2) play off last week’s shutout of the Texas Rangers and carried a 20 2/3-inning scoreless streak into the ninth. Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit back-to-back two-out singles and Keuchel was pulled after 128 pitches. Howie Kendrick followed with a two-run double down the right field line that briefly game the Angels hope. Unfortunately, the season’s 14th comeback bid ended on C.J. Cron’s groundout to third. The 24-year-old first baseman is 3-for-21 over the last seven games. The Angels lose half a game on idle Oakland and fall to 6-10 against division opponents.