Richards leads way as Angels edge Mariners
ANAHEIM -- Garrett Richards allowed just two runs over 7 2/3 innings on Saturday as the Angels topped the Mariners, 4-2, with help from Kole Calhoun's two-run homer at Angel Stadium.
Richards (8-5, 3.54 ERA) gave up seven hits but limited the damage to a pair of runs and is now 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA in seven career starts against Seattle. He struck out six and helped the Angels move back above .500 at 38-37.
"It feels good to get those hits on the board," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We didn't have many of them, but we had some clutch hits this afternoon, and Garrett pitched just a terrific game."
Mariners lefty J.A. Happ surrendered Calhoun's homer in the first, but then retired 17 of the next 18 batters before giving up two more runs in the seventh. Happ (3-5, 3.89) allowed just five hits, but lost his fourth straight start as Seattle fell to 34-41.
"I felt like I was making pitches pretty much all day," Happ said in his postgame session with the media. "I'm sick of saying I'm frustrated to you guys. I'm sick of being frustrated. But I felt good today and I feel like if I stay right there, things are going to turn. I thought I pitched pretty well."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Calhoun provides power early: The Angels' biggest hit of the game came in the first inning after Daniel Robertson's leadoff single, when Calhoun drove a 92-mph Happ fastball over the right-center-field fence. It was Calhoun's first home run in 13 games and 50 at-bats and his first off a left-hander since April 21.
"Kole matches up pretty good with Happ," Scioscia said. "I think he's had some good looks at him in the past and got a hold of a fastball, didn't miss it. That's a big hit at the time, obviously. I think it did let Garrett not worry about one pitch or one mistake that could hurt him early." More >
Another relay, really: For the second straight game, the Mariners threw out an Angels baserunner trying for a triple. This time it was David Freese getting thrown out after right fielder Mark Trumbo couldn't make a catch against the wall but recovered and fired the ball to shortstop Brad Miller, whose strong relay to third baseman Kyle Seager nailed Freese for the final out of the fourth inning. The combo of Trumbo to Robinson Cano to Seager pulled the same feat Friday on Erick Aybar in Seattle's 3-1 win.
Freese saves a key run: The Mariners were threatening to tie the game at 2-2 in the sixth inning -- with Logan Morrison on second base, one out and a run home -- when third baseman Freese preserved the Angels' lead with a diving stop on Seth Smith's ground ball down the line. Freese had no chance to get up and throw out Smith, but Morrison had to stop at third, and the next batter, Cano, grounded into an inning-ending double play.
"He made that great diving play down the third-base line, and Cano bounced into a double play right after," second baseman Johnny Giavotella said. "So it saved a run. Which is huge. He's been making great plays for us for the better part of the season."
Zunino flies solo: Mariners catcher Mike Zunino unleashed his first home run in a month -- and eighth on the season -- leading off the eighth against Richards to cut the Angels lead to 4-2. It was Zunino's first long ball since May 28, though once again the Mariners only got one run out of it, as 54 of their 76 home runs this season have been solo shots. Zunino has seven solo blasts. Statcast™ technology projected the shot to center field would have landed 417 feet away from home plate.
"He's got such a great arm. To me, you've just got to try to get on the fastball," Zunino said. "That's your best chance to hit something because his slider is so good. The home run I was able to get a slider up in the zone with two strikes and really wasn't trying to do too much with it."
CANO KNOCKED OUT OF GAME
Cano was hit in the forehead by an errant throw during the Angels' infield warmups prior to the seventh inning and was removed from the game with dizziness and a huge welt that quickly rose above his left temple. Cano was sitting in the dugout when a ball sailed over the head of Angels first baseman Albert Pujols and struck him without warning. Cano was tended to by Mariners trainer Rob Nodine and then helped to the clubhouse by Nodine and manager Lloyd McClendon, where he underwent tests that ruled out a concussion. He is day to day with a bruised forehead. More >
"This guy is tough. He's rebounded quite nicely. He lived at 96 [mph] most of the day. He sped us up, threw some nasty breaking balls. He's a tough cookie." -- McClendon, on Richards
"I think Kole's a pretty confident player. I know he feels good to contribute. His last 30 at-bats haven't been maybe as crisp, but he just keeps plugging away whether we hit him first, second or fifth. He's ready to play, and he got a big hit for us today." -- Scioscia, on Calhoun's home run amid his slump
Mariners: Felix Hernandez (10-4, 3.24) will close out the three-game series in Anaheim in Sunday's 12:35 p.m. PT game, looking to continue his recent run of dominance against the AL West rivals. Hernandez hasn't lost at Angel Stadium since 2011 (3-0, 2.53 ERA in nine starts) and is 5-0 with a 1.04 ERA in his last five starts against the Halos overall.
Angels: Left-hander Hector Santiago (4-4, 2.68 ERA), who's been the Angels' most consistent starter this season, squares off with Hernandez. Santiago's last start was his latest solid performance, as he held the big-hitting Astros to one run on two hits over six innings.
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