The hard-throwing right-hander gave the
Richards allowed four runs — three earned — and five hits, three of them infield singles, in five innings, struck out four and walked four. His fastball sat in the 94-95-mph range, and he showed a sharp-breaking slider. But he struggled with his command and efficiency. Of his 100 pitches, 60 were strikes.
The great news for the Angels: Richards looked physically sound, and he even shared a laugh with first baseman
It was on a similar play in Fenway Park last Aug. 20 that Richards caught a spike in the dirt, fell and suffered a torn left patellar tendon, an injury that cut short a season in which Richards went 13-4 with a 2.61 earned-run average and was in contention for the
On Sunday, Richards sandwiched a pair of walks around an error by third baseman
Richards’ fastball was cutting so much that two or three pitches that were actually in the strike zone were called balls because
Richards escaped the jam by striking out
Richards needed only four pitches to retire the Astros in the fourth but ran into more trouble in the fifth, when
Lowrie swung and missed at a slider in the dirt for strike three, but the ball bounced away from Butera and toward the on-deck circle near the first-base dugout. Butera's throw to first hit Lowrie in the right shoulder and caromed into foul territory, allowing Springer to score and Gattis to take third.
Castro followed with a grounder that Freese bobbled but was ruled an infield hit, Gattis scoring for a 4-2 Astros lead.
Pujols hit a towering solo homer to left field in the eighth, giving him 523 career homers — he’s now 18th on baseball’s all-time list — and his 46th against the Astros, tying him with