Angels' Garrett Richards picks up win with six strong innings

Making just his third start after knee surgery, Garrett Richards picked up win with six strong innings

Angels 6, Oakland 5

AT THE PLATE: With Albert Pujols, who bats third, sidelined by left-hamstring tightness and four regulars batting .211 or lower, Manager Mike Scioscia "rearranged the deck," moving Mike Trout from second to third, Kole Calhoun from first to fourth, Johnny Giavotella from ninth to second and Erick Aybar from fifth to first. The revamped lineup produced 12 hits, including three by David Freese and two each by Trout, Aybar and Calhoun, who drove in three runs. Giavotella hit an RBI single in the third. After Taylor Featherston and Aybar opened the fifth with singles, Giavotella bunted on his own, advancing the runners but enabling the A's to intentionally walk Trout to load the bases. "I felt good with Johnny swinging the bat," Scioscia said. "And our preference was not to take the bat out of Mike's hands." The strategy worked, though, as Calhoun lined a two-run single to right, and Freese drove in a run with a fielder's-choice grounder for a 4-0 lead. Aybar added an RBI double in the sixth, and Trout doubled and scored on Calhoun's single in the seventh.

ON THE MOUND: Garrett Richards, making his third start after an eight-month recovery from left-knee surgery, allowed one run and four hits in six innings, striking out five and walking three to improve to 2-1 with a 3.00 earned-run average. With his 101st pitch of the game, Richards struck out Billy Butler with a 96-mph fastball to end the sixth. He also struck out Eric Sogard with a second-inning curve that started at Sogard's shoulders and broke down to his ankles.

INJURY UPDATE: Scioscia said Pujols, who left Wednesday night's game in the sixth inning, was "no worse" Thursday than he was Wednesday, "which is a good sign," he said. With no designated hitter in the National League park for a weekend series in San Francisco, it's doubtful Pujols, who underwent treatment Thursday, will play against the Giants.

EXTRA BASES: Featherston's fifth-inning single was his first major league hit. ... The Angels have a major league-best 96-52 record in interleague play since 2007.

UP NEXT: Left-hander C.J. Wilson (1-2, 3.12 ERA) will oppose San Francisco right-hander Chris Heston (2-2, 2.27 ERA) at AT&T Park on Friday at 7:15 p.m.. On the air: TV—FS West. Radio—830.

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