Garrett Richards Baffles Oakland Hitters, Earns Sixth Win

By Jose Serrano

Jun 9, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher (center) congratulates center fielder Mike Trout (left) and left fielder Josh Hamilton (32) after the game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The Angels defeated the Athletics 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Not even an overturned home run and Mike Scioscia’s ejection could keep Los Angeles from defeating Oakland for just the second time this season.

Garrett Richards earned his first-ever victory over the A’s, and the Angels reached a season-high four game winning streak in the 4-1 triumph Monday night. Halos pitching combined to snap Oakland’s string of 16 consecutive games with a home run.

Scioscia was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing an apparent home run after Mike Trout tagged Jesse Chavez’s (5-4) cutter over the right field scoreboard. Oakland manager Bob Melvin’s challenged was based on multiple fans reaching over the handrail and deflecting the ball.

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The review board agreed and granted Trout an ground rule RBI double, causing Scioscia to argue that Trout would have easily reached third base. It was Scioscia’s first ejection of the season and 37th as the Halos’ skipper.

Trout would be stranded at second, but it wasn’t as if Richards (6-2) needed the extra run. The right-hander pitched seven solid inning, scattering four hits without walking a batter. It was a complete turnaround from the five run allowed in two-thirds of an inning May 30.

The 26-year-old right had batter off balance all night. His fastball reached the high-90s and his breaking ball danced into the dirt, frustrating arguably the most potent offense in the Majors. The heart of Oakland’s lineup- Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, and Yoenis Cespedes– went 2-for-12 with six strikeouts a day after the same trio earned four RBIs in Baltimore.

Oakland’s sole run came in the second on Stephen Vogt’s two-out RBI single. The Angels answered with three straight one-run innings, including a run-scoring single from Raul Ibanez and two RBIs from Trout. The second-leading vote getter in the American League went 1-for-3 with a walk and has hit safely in 16 of the last 17 games.

Hank Conger’s eight inning single to right scored Howie Kendrick from third and gave Ernesto Frieri much needed insurance. Prior to the game, Frieri downplayed Oakland’s luck over the first six games and assured a win. The closer didn’t disappoint, striking out the 3-4-5 hitters on 14 pitches en route to his 11th save of the young season.

The Angels move within 3 ½ games of the division leaders with two games left before heading to Atlanta.