SEATTLE -- The Angels stormed the field in the fifth inning on Friday after Jose Pujols singled off Mike Leake to secure his entry into the hallowed 3,000-hit club. By the end of the night, they had even more cause to celebrate, as Garrett Richards struck out eight over 6
SEATTLE -- The Angels stormed the field in the fifth inning on Friday after Jose Pujols singled off Mike Leake to secure his entry into the hallowed 3,000-hit club. By the end of the night, they had even more cause to celebrate, as Garrett Richards struck out eight over 6 2/3 scoreless innings to propel the Angels to their fourth consecutive win, a 5-0 series-opening victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field.
Pujols entered Friday with 2,999 hits and went hitless in his first two plate appearances against Leake before lining a flare to right field in the fifth. He became the 32nd player to log 3,000 hits, and the second Dominican player to reach the milestone, after Adrian Beltre. Pujols is only the fourth player to collect 600 home runs and 3,000 hits, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Alex Rodriguez. The 38-year-old slugger capped his night with a two-run single to left field off reliever Casey Lawrence in the ninth, giving him 3,001 hits over his decorated career.
"I knew it was going to happen one of these days, and it happened tonight," Pujols said. "I'm just glad that I was able to accomplish that and also be able to win the game. ... To be able to share this moment with not only my family and friends but my teammates, I would say those are memories that stick with you."
• Pujols joins 3,000-hit club
Pujols' historic accomplishment overshadowed a dominant performance from Richards, who allowed just four hits -- all singles -- and walked one in his first start against the Mariners since Sept. 25, 2015. It was an impressive rebound from his outing against the Yankees on Saturday, when he surrendered nine runs (five earned) and recorded only five outs.
"Obviously, last week was a tough one, and I'm trying to bounce back from that one," Richards said. "I'm just trying to take it one start at a time and put in my work in between and just try to get better every day."
Shohei Ohtani, who drew plenty of boos for spurning the Mariners to sign with the Angels in December, finished 2-for-4 with an RBI double to lift his batting average to .339 on the season.
"I'm not really used to being booed," Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. "It was probably my first time, so it felt kind of awkward and a little weird."
Andrelton Simmons and Michael Trout also produced multi-hit efforts for the Angels, who improved their road record to 12-2 in 2018.
Richards and Leake matched each other with three scoreless innings to start the game, but the Angels then broke through with two runs in the fourth. Pujols led off the inning with a 10-pitch walk from Leake, and Ohtani followed by lining a single to center field. After Dee Gordon spiked his throw back to the infield, Pujols advanced to third and scored on Simmons' subsequent single to put the Angels on the board.
Another single by Luis Valbuena loaded the bases with no outs for Kole Calhoun, who grounded into a 3-6-3 double play that brought in Ohtani from third and extended the Angels' lead to 2-0. Leake then coaxed a groundout from Rene Rivera to end the inning.
Ohtani added an insurance run in the fifth, lifting a fly ball over the head of Mariners left fielder Ben Gamel for a two-out RBI double.
"I think the Seattle fans were disappointed obviously that Shohei didn't sign here," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's almost a sign of respect. They wanted him, and he obviously chose our club and we're thrilled that he did. He had good at-bats all night."
HE SAID IT
"I think the guys know the living history that we're seeing every day with Albert. These aren't things that you're going to say 15 years down the road, 'Hey, that was really impressive.' These are things that 15 seconds later you're going, 'Man, this is really special.' It's fun to watch it. I know these guys in the clubhouse are enjoying being a part of it. They're obviously very, very happy for Albert." -- Scioscia, on the Angels' reactions to seeing Pujols reach 3,000 hits
Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (3-2, 3.03 ERA) will start for the Angels on Saturday as they continue their three-game series against the Mariners at 6:10 p.m. PT at Safeco Field. Skaggs was charged with the loss in his last start against the Yankees on Sunday after allowing two runs over 5 1/3 innings. He is 1-2 with a 4.81 ERA in seven career starts against Seattle. Skaggs will be opposed by Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales (3-2, 5.02 ERA).
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.