There was one benefit in the eyes of Angels pitcher Garrett Richards to the Baltimore Orioles breaking open a tight game with two eighth-inning runs en route to a 3-0 victory in Camden Yards on Sunday.
The late rally spared Richards and the Angels the indignity of losing a game by a 1-0 score with the only run scoring on a wild pitch, which has occurred only four times in franchise history, the last time in 1979.
"Yeah, I was thinking about that after I came out," said Richards, who gave up two runs and five hits in 7 2/3 innings but could not prevent the Orioles from snapping the Angels' five-game win streak. "It would have stunk if that one pitch would have been the deciding factor in the game."
The hard-throwing Richards has a nasty breaking ball, a snap hook of a slider that often starts in the strike zone and nosedives into the dirt, making it virtually impossible to hit and, at times, to catch.
Though Richards was in contention for the American League Cy Young Award when he suffered his season-ending left-knee injury last August, he also led the league with 22 wild pitches. He has six already in six starts this season.
"I think it comes with the territory," Richards said. "I would love to cut down on them, but we're all human, you know it's going to happen from time to time. I have to do my best to keep the ball in front of the plate but still attack with the same aggressiveness. I'm not going to get timid out there."
Richards struck out Chris Davis, but his 1-and-0 slider to Steve Pearce bounced in front of catcher Carlos Perez and to the backstop, allowing Jones to score easily for a 1-0 lead.
"Carlos blocked probably eight of them, and one got by with a guy on third," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Garrett's breaking ball is so late and sharp, and when it's down it really kicks in a number of directions. He's not an easy catch.
"Carlos did a good job on just about every one. One got away. But we didn't lose the game on the defensive side. We lost the game in the batter's box."
Indeed, the Angels managed six hits and were shut out for the third time this season. Some of that had to do with the Angels, who rank last in the AL in on-base percentage (.288) and on-base plus slugging (.637) and 14th in runs (134).
Plenty of it had to do with Orioles 6-foot-6 right-hander Mike Wright, who gave up four hits in 7 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out six and walking none, in his big league debut.
"He had good command and came right at us," Angels second baseman Johnny Giavotella said. "We couldn't put any runs on the board. We couldn't string any hits together. You have to tip your cap to him. He battled and really took it to us."
Wright, a third-round pick out of East Carolina University in 2011, retired the first nine batters, striking out Mike Trout with a 98-mph fastball in the first, David Freese with a 97-mph fastball in the second and Marc Krauss with a 97-mph fastball in the third.
Kole Calhoun led off the fourth with a single and took third on Albert Pujols' one-out double to left, but Calhoun was tagged out in a rundown after breaking toward home on Erick Aybar's slow roller to third. Giavotella struck out to end the inning.
"You have to make a quick study," Scioscia said. "Once you get in the box, you see some pitches, the release point, the spin on his fastball and breaking pitches, and you should get into a comfort zone that will let you track the ball.
"There's definitely an inherent advantage a pitcher has when hitters haven't seen him, but it was more than that. He pitched a good game, no doubt about it."