Interleague and crosstown rivalry looked like a one sided affair as the Los Angeles Angels easily beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 with a strong pitching performance from Garrett Richards, backed up by a Josh Hamilton home run and RBI doubles from Albert Pujols and Mike Trout.
The Angels still don’t have the lead in the AL West; it’s a rough world to live in with the Oakland A’s doing so well. But they’re 67-44, looking quite solid at the moment for at least one of the wild card spots, hoping they can turn the rest of the season into something more. The Dodgers are still in pole position after the loss (63-50) when it comes to their two-headed race with the San Francisco Giants in the NL West, but they have only 1.5 games of a lead.
Richards became only the third pitcher in the Angels-Dodgers rivalry to throw a shutout, lasting all nine innings and giving up just five hits and two walks while striking out nine batters, including Matt Kemp three times, Adrian Gonzalez and Dee Gordon twice each. The others to shut out in this rivalry are Aaron Sele in 2002 and Hyun-Jin Ryu last year.
Maybe the best piece of news for the Angles came from Josh Hamilton, hitting his eighth home run of the season as he capped off the win in the sixth inning. It was his third home run over the last seven games, compared to only two home runs in the previous 46 games. The Angels are second in the majors in runs, third in batting average (.264), sixth in OBP and fourth in slugging, using most of their firepower in the first inning.
Zack Greinke isn’t used to having duds like this one, but he gave up four runs in the first inning as Albert Pujols and Mike Trout kicked things off with RBI-doubles, followed by a bad throw from Hanley Ramirez allowing Erick Aybar to score and finally David Freese hitting an RBI single to give the Angels a 4-0 lead that lasted them the entire game. Greinke settled down after that yet still picked up his seventh loss of the season, giving up six hits and five runs while striking out five in seven innings.
There was interesting banter between Yasiel Puig and Albert Pujols in the eighth innings, following a finger wagging from Puig at Aybar two innings earlier after Aybar thought about making a tag-up move. Pujols took advantage of Puig showing his lazy side late in the game and tagged up from first base. Don Mattingly is probably hoping this is a learning experience for Puig, and not just something to get angry at.