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Richards rolls to sixth straight win over Texas

Backed by early support, Halos righty keeps ball on ground

ARLINGTON -- There are three pitches Angels right-hander Garrett Richards said he wants back, but it's not like he had a regrettable outing.

Richards went 7 2/3 innings, allowing only one run Friday in an 8-2 win against the Rangers.

The only slip was in the sixth, when Richards said the Texas heat caused him to sweat to the point he lost his grip on the ball and hung three sliders. The first resulted in a Prince Fielder double, and Adrian Beltre then singled on a slider to score Fielder.

Josh Hamilton hooked another slider for a double that put runners on second and third, but Richards regained his form to get Shin-Soo Choo to ground out.

"If I could take three pitches back out of all of them, it would be those three," Richards said.

Richards, though, recorded 12 ground-ball outs and also struck out six. He kept the ball on the ground or in the catcher's mitt for the better part of his outing, and it resulted in his sixth win in six career starts against Texas.

"That lineup is going to let you know if you miss spots," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "They've got some guys that really drive the ball, and Garrett really was on top of it. Pitched ahead a lot. Kept the ball down. Elevated what he wanted to. Had his good breaking stuff going."

Richards had the benefit of early run support after the Angels scored six in the second. He said that allowed him to become more aggressive, and it paid off.

"I think it's starting to click for me," he said. "Strike one is an important thing for me, and my 1-1 [pitches] tonight were good. Got me back into counts."

Richards said he benefited from working with rookie catcher Carlos Perez, who was behind the plate for only the 24th time this season.

"I've been very impressed," Richards said. "He calls such a creative game behind the plate, and that fits in well with my plan of attack, so we work well together."

The shutdown outing from Richards was the eighth consecutive game in which Angels starters have allowed two earned runs or fewer. The Halos have won five of their past six, and starting pitching continues to be the impetus behind their success.

"I think the heartbeat of your club is your starting rotation, and our guys have been terrific," Scioscia said. "If they're not tops in the league in innings per start, they're close to it. They're giving us a lot of good innings and giving us a chance to win, and we haven't scored many runs. They're still pitching with their backs against the wall for many of their starts. They just keep putting up zeros and giving us chances."

Cody Stavenhagen is an associate reporter for
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