So about that old baseball adage that good pitching beats good hitting.
Not exactly, or at least, not always.
Certainly not Monday night, not that right-hander Garrett Richards wasn’t excellent in the Angels’ 5-0 beating of the Dodgers before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 53,166.
The Dodgers sent out their No. 2 starter, former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, and he wasn’t exactly greeted with alarm by the Angels.
The Angels pounded him for four runs in the first inning, and with Richards throwing a five-hit shutout, that was your ballgame. It was the first career shutout for Richards.
The Dodgers didn’t exactly help Greinke’s cause in the first inning, but then he contributed mightily to the poor opening himself, allowing four hits and throwing two wild pitches.
Kole Calhoun started the fun for the Angels by lining a single to left that Carl Crawford trapped, just missing the catch by a couple of inches. But when Mike Trout hit another sinking liner to the left of Crawford, he took a poor angle and then made a worse decision to dive for the ball. He didn’t come close and the ball rolled to the wall for a run-scoring double.
Albert Pujols followed with his own run-scoring double and took third when Josh Hamilton bounced out. But when Erick Aybar bounced to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Pujols tried to come home. Gonzalez fired a strike to the plate and catcher A.J. Ellis’ sweeping tag caught him for the out.
The Angels weren’t done, though.
A Greinke wild pitch moved Aybar to second and he scored on the first of two throwing errors by shortstop Hanley Ramirez, this one on a Howie Kendrick chopper. Greinke bounced another wild pitch to move Kendrick to second and he scored on a David Freese base hit.
The Dodgers were down 4-0, and Richards wasn’t in the mood for any home-team comebacks.
Richards (12-4) made quick work of the Dodgers. He struck out nine and did not walk a batter. All five hits he allowed were singles.
Greinke (12-7) settled down after the first, allowing only two more hits in his seven innings. One, however, was a mammoth home run by Hamilton in the sixth. Greinke did not walk a batter and struck out five.
Pujols managed to add some insult to a lackadaisical Yasiel Puig in the eighth. He was on first after a single when Hamilton flied out to Puig in medium center. Puig did his too-casual routine, catching the ball one-handed well out to his left. Pujols tagged and before Puig could recover and fire back to the infield, he was safe at second.
Not a lot went well for the Dodgers on Monday.
After winning a season-high six consecutive games, the Dodgers have now lost three of their last four and have seen their lead in the National League West cut to two games over the San Francisco Giants.