KEY MOMENT: Garrett Richards was snubbed in the All-Star selection process, and the right-hander said he took the mound with a chip on his shoulder. It showed — he allowed five hits in seven shutout innings, struck out eight and walked two to improve to 11-2 with a 2.55 earned-run average and 127 strikeouts. "I'll probably end up carrying that the whole year, to be honest with you," Richards said. "It might be some motivation for the whole season."
AT THE PLATE: Mike Trout broke up Nick Tepesch's perfect game by crushing a low fastball 418 feet over the left-center field wall for a solo home run, his 22nd of the season, with one out in the fourth. Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton singled to open the seventh, and Erick Aybar and David Freese each hit run-scoring singles to make it 3-0.
ON THE MOUND: Richards, featuring a lively 96-mph fastball and nasty slider, struck out leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo three times to lead the Angels' first shutout of the Rangers in Texas since Sept. 18, 2009. Richards, who is 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA in his last eight starts, joins Frank Tanana (1977), Nolan Ryan (1979) and Jered Weaver (2011) as the only Angels with 11 or more wins, 120 or more strikeouts and a sub-2.60 ERA before the All-Star break. Kevin Jepsen threw a scoreless eighth, and Joe Smith added a one-two-three ninth for his 13th save.
GROOVE THING: Since hitting coach Don Baylor returned June 25 from surgery to repair a broken right thigh bone, the Angels have led the major leagues in average (.306), runs (105), doubles (31) and RBIs (99) in 17 games. "Having Don has definitely helped, but I don't know if he's got the magic potion," right fielder Kole Calhoun said. "We're playing good baseball. This team is full of guys who can swing the sticks, and we're swinging it well collectively."
GREEN A NO-GO: The Angels have held Hunter Green, their top pick in the 2013 draft, out of game action this season so the 19-year-old left-hander can focus on recovering from a mild back injury, gaining weight and improving his overall strength. The 6-foot-4 Green weighed 159 pounds when he was drafted but was unable to retain the 15 to 20 pounds he gained over the winter. "He wants to pitch," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said, "but this is a judgment call on our part."
UP NEXT: Right-hander Jered Weaver (9-6, 3.50 ERA) will oppose Texas right-hander Miles Mikolas (0-1, 12.46 ERA) at Globe Life Park on Saturday at 4 p.m. PDT. On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 830 AM.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times