Los Angeles at Seattle

Pujols goes yard again; Angels blank Mariners on one hit

CBSSports.com wire reports

SEATTLE -- Garrett Richards walked two batters in the first inning. He pitched out of a jam in the third with runners on second and third. He overcame errors and walks thanks to double plays and strikeouts.

On a night the only offensive punch for the Los Angeles Angels came off the bat of Albert Pujols, it was Richards making sure those two runs stood up.

Pujols hit a home run for the second successive game while Richards and two relievers combined on a one-hitter as the Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 2-0 on Wednesday night.

"Just with experience I think the game has slowed down for me and so it's basically just come down to me executing pitches," Richards said.

Pujols hit a two-run shot in the third off Seattle starter Roenis Elias (0-1).

Richards (2-0) threw seven shutout innings. Abraham Almonte was the only Seattle batter to reach via hit when he singled in the third inning.

Richards walked three batters and the Angels committed two errors, but struck out six.

"Confidence is high. And I think that when you're confident you're pretty comfortable you're going to make those pitches at the very least," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think that's the next step Garrett has taken. I think he's getting to know his stuff better."

The pitching effort was needed after the Angels had been knocked around by Seattle, getting outscored 31-11 in losing the first four meetings against the Mariners. The pitching, combined with the 494th home run of Pujols' career provided a bright spot after a miserable start to the day and the news that Josh Hamilton could miss two months with a thumb injury.

Hamilton is likely to miss the next six to eight weeks after suffering an injury to his left thumb the night before sliding headfirst into first base. An MRI on Wednesday revealed a complete tear of the thumb's ulnar collateral ligament. He'll be examined in Los Angeles on Friday to determine if he'll need surgery.

Pujols' blast went 418-feet into the netting beyond the Angels bullpen in left field, and like the night before, Mike Trout was on base. Pujols is now six home runs shy of becoming the 26th player in baseball history to reach 500 home runs in his career.

"Albert has very high expectations for what he needs to do," Scioscia said. "He takes it very seriously. He assumes the leadership role, he wants to be the cornerstone of the lineup and he takes that responsibility. It's good to see him do some of the things he's capable of and hopefully it'll be there for a long time."

Richards throwing a gem in Seattle should not have come as a surprise. The last time he started in Seattle last August, Richards threw 7 1/3 shutout innings. In 12 innings this season, Richards has given up one earned run and struck out 13. His only issue is walks and pitch count. He walked five in his season debut against Houston last week, lasting only five innings.

His one jam came in the third when Almonte got Seattle's only hit and Brad Miller reached on an error. Robinson Cano grounded out to first and Richards struck out Justin Smoak to end the inning.

"When you run into a buzzsaw like that where a guy is throwing 96-97, getting an 86-89 slider over for strikes, it's going to be a tough night," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He just outdueled our guy."


Angels SS Erick Aybar was a late scratch from the lineup after getting some pregame dental work. He was replaced by John McDonald. ... Injured Seattle starter Taijuan Walker (shoulder) threw five shutout innings for Double-A Jackson in a rehab outing on Wednesday. Walker struck out 10. ... One of Seattle's other injured starters, Hisashi Iwakuma, threw his first bullpen session on Wednesday as he continues to work back from a finger injury that kept him from throwing for most of spring training.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Albert Pujols belts No. 494 and passes Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff for 26th place on the all-time home run list.  (USATSI)
Albert Pujols belts No. 494 and passes Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff for 26th place on the all-time home run list. (USATSI)

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Los Angeles (A.L.) Angels
Collin Cowgill, LF4010022 .250
Mike Trout, CF4100004 .257
Albert Pujols, DH4122001 .250
David Freese, 3B3000121 .179
Howie Kendrick, 2B4010001 .250
Kole Calhoun, RF4010000 .194
Chris Iannetta, C4000002 .080
Ian Stewart, 1B4000022 .091
John McDonald, SS3020001 .500
Garrett Richards, P0000000 .000
   Joe Smith, P0000000 .000
   Ernesto Frieri, P0000000 .000
HR - Albert Pujols (2, Elias)
RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (5)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (3)
SB - Kole Calhoun (2, 2nd base off Furbush/Zunino)
Team LOB - 7
DP - McDonald-Freese-Stewart
E - Howie Kendrick (2, Throwing), John McDonald (2, Misplayed grounder)
Los Angeles (A.L.) Angels
Garrett Richards (W,2-0) 7100360 0.75
Joe Smith (H,1) 1000020 0.00
Ernesto Frieri (S,1) 1000110 6.00
Pitches-Strikes - Garrett Richards 99-55, Joe Smith 13-8, Ernesto Frieri 15-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Garrett Richards 9-7, Joe Smith 1-0, Ernesto Frieri 2-0
Batters Faced - Garrett Richards 26, Joe Smith 3, Ernesto Frieri 4
Seattle Mariners
Abraham Almonte, CF3010120 .242
Brad Miller, SS4000021 .194
Robinson Cano, 2B4000012 .300
Justin Smoak, 1B2000213 .300
Corey Hart, DH3000113 .200
Kyle Seager, 3B4000012 .130
Logan Morrison, RF3000001 .125
Dustin Ackley, LF3000001 .226
Mike Zunino, C3000010 .250
Roenis Elias, P0000000 .000
   Dominic Leone, P0000000 .000
   Joe Beimel, P0000000 .000
   Yoervis Medina, P0000000 .000
   Charlie Furbush, P0000000 .000
Team LOB - 6
Seattle Mariners
Roenis Elias (L,0-1) 5422121 2.70
Dominic Leone 1.1000010 0.00
Joe Beimel 0.1200010 0.00
Yoervis Medina 1.1000010 1.80
Charlie Furbush 1100010 4.50
HBP - McDonald (by Roenis Elias)
Pitches-Strikes - Roenis Elias 91-54, Dominic Leone 17-10, Joe Beimel 14-11, Yoervis Medina 11-7, Charlie Furbush 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roenis Elias 8-5, Dominic Leone 1-2, Yoervis Medina 2-1
Batters Faced - Roenis Elias 21, Dominic Leone 4, Joe Beimel 3, Yoervis Medina 4, Charlie Furbush 4
Game Information
Attendance - 16437
Game Time - 2:53
Temperature - 56
Umpires - Home - Mike Winters, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Seth Buckminster, Third Base - Mike Muchlinski