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Calhoun helps Richards end Mariners' streak

MLB.com @mi_guardado

SEATTLE -- Kole Calhoun homered and drove in three runs to help back a solid effort from right-hander Garrett Richards as the Angels celebrated the Fourth of July by snapping the Mariners' eight-game winning streak with a 7-4 win Wednesday afternoon at Safeco Field.

Richards, who was activated off the disabled list Wednesday after missing three weeks with a left hamstring strain, gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits over 5 1/3 innings in his first MLB start since June 13. He walked one, struck out eight and threw 80 pitches in the outing.

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SEATTLE -- Kole Calhoun homered and drove in three runs to help back a solid effort from right-hander Garrett Richards as the Angels celebrated the Fourth of July by snapping the Mariners' eight-game winning streak with a 7-4 win Wednesday afternoon at Safeco Field.

Richards, who was activated off the disabled list Wednesday after missing three weeks with a left hamstring strain, gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits over 5 1/3 innings in his first MLB start since June 13. He walked one, struck out eight and threw 80 pitches in the outing.

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"I felt good," Richards said. "Just tried to execute pitches. Tried to just stay pitch to pitch. Hamstring felt good. Everything felt good. We got a win, so that's obviously most important. It's a good one to build off of."

Video: LAA@SEA: Richards strikes out 8 in return from DL

Searching for a way to spark the Angels' inconsistent offense, manager Mike Scioscia tweaked the club's lineup Wednesday, moving Andrelton Simmons up to the No. 2 spot ahead of middle-of-the-order hitters Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Albert Pujols. The Angels' bats seemed to click under the new configuration and outhit the Mariners, 13-10, to set up a rubber match in Thursday's series finale.

Calhoun went 3-for-5 in the leadoff spot to lead the balanced attack and is now batting .306 with three doubles, four home runs and eight RBIs since returning from the disabled list on June 18. Luis Valbuena finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while Pujols added another pair of hits after being dropped to the No. 5 spot in the order for the first time since 2001.

Video: LAA@SEA: Valbuena opens scoring with an RBI double

"I think the template works if we can end up setting the table for the guys in the middle," Scioscia said. "This afternoon, we did. All those guys had opportunities. … We had a lot of guys in scoring position. I think that was a plus. I think Kole and Andrelton at the top did a good job today. They were on base about five times. It fed the guys that we wanted to."

Video: LAA@SEA: Calhoun on his homer, 3 hits vs. Seattle

The Angels got on the board in the second inning after Shohei Ohtani reached on catcher's interference and scored from first on Valbuena's two-out RBI double to left field. Kyle Seager and Ryon Healy then hit back-to-back home runs off Richards to give the Mariners a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning.

Video: LAA@SEA: Seager and Healy crush back-to-back jacks

Still, the Angels added two more runs in the fourth to go ahead for good. Pujols led off the inning with a double to the right-field wall, advanced to third on Ohtani's single -- his first hit since returning from the disabled list Tuesday -- and scored on Valbuena's single to left field, tying the game at 2. After Martin Maldonado struck out and David Fletcher flied out, Calhoun delivered an RBI single up the middle to give the Angels a 3-2 lead.

"I was seeing the ball a lot better today compared to yesterday, so I feel like I took a pretty big step forward," said Ohtani, who collected two hits after going hitless in four at-bats Tuesday.

Video: LAA@SEA: Ohtani singles, doubles in 2nd game off DL

The Angels added an insurance run on Pujols' RBI single in the fifth and then extended their lead to 6-2 on Calhoun's two-run homer off reliever Nick Rumbelow in the sixth. It was Calhoun's fifth home run of the season.

After yielding the home runs to Seager and Healy in the second, Richards settled in and faced the minimum over the next three innings. The only other blemish for Richards came in the sixth. After Guillermo Heredia singled, Richards was unable to cleanly field a bunt from Dee Gordon, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Richards struck out Jean Segura for the first out, but he was subsequently removed from the game after reaching his prescribed pitch limit.

"I think that was just a precautionary thing," Richards said. "I knew that I was going to be on somewhat of a leash today, but I didn't want to pitch like that or think about that. I didn't know exactly where my pitch count was. I just tried to make the most out of the pitches I had."

Cam Bedrosian replaced Richards and struck out Mitch Haniger before yielding an RBI single to Nelson Cruz that cut the Angels' lead to 6-3.

Video: LAA@SEA: Cruz flares an RBI single to right field

The Mariners made it interesting in the ninth after Mike Zunino singled and Denard Span doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs. Blake Parker induced a flyout from Gordon, a fielder's choice from Segura and a groundout from Haniger to close the door for the Angels and pick up his 10th save of the season.

Video: LAA@SEA: Parker picks up 10th save of the season

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Down by three runs, the Mariners threatened in the seventh after Healy singled and Ben Gamel and Zunino walked to load the bases with no outs. Hansel Robles struck out Span and Gordon swinging before receiving an assist from Fletcher, who made an incredible leaping grab at second base to rob Segura of a single and record the final out of the inning, keeping the Angels' 6-3 lead intact.

"I got a pretty good read off the bat, and I kind of felt like I had him beat on it the whole way," Fletcher said. "It's definitely a good feeling to know that I saved a couple runs."

Video: LAA@SEA: Fletcher makes acrobatic catch to escape jam

SOUND SMART
The Mariners intentionally walked Trout twice Wednesday, giving him an MLB-high 14 intentional walks this season. Trout is batting .548 with five doubles, five home runs and nine RBIs in eight games at Safeco Field this year.

UP NEXT
The Angels will send rookie Jaime Barria (5-4, 3.40 ERA) to the mound Thursday as they close out their three-game series against the Mariners at 7:10 p.m. PT at Safeco Field. Barria, who will start in place of the injured Tyler Skaggs, will be opposed by Seattle left-hander Marco Gonzales (8-5, 3.77 ERA). Barria made his only appearance against the Mariners on June 12, when he gave up three runs (two earned) over five innings. The Angels are 6-15 against left-handed starters this season.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Kole Calhoun, Albert Pujols, Garrett Richards, Luis Valbuena