KEY MOMENT: Raul Ibanez’s three-run triple in the eighth inning was the decisive blow, but it would not have been possible if not for Erick Aybar’s clutch two-out, run-scoring hit to right field that pulled the Angels even, 1-1, and Chris Iannetta’s walk that loaded the bases for Ibanez.
AT THE PLATE: Aybar, who entered with a .175 average, also singled sharply to right field in the second and doubled to right in the fourth, the three-hit game lifting his average to .209. J.B. Shuck, Mike Trout and Howie Kendrick each had two hits, but David Freese struck out in the seventh, his average falling to .140.
ON THE MOUND: Garrett Richards struggled to find a grip on baseballs he said “were really slick,” but he looked dominant for much of a six-inning start in which he gave up one run and one hit, struck out six and walked four. He lost his command in the fourth, walking two and hitting a batter to load the bases, but minimized damage by giving up one run. Closer Ernesto Frieri gave up a ninth-inning home run to Ian Desmond but struck out three for the save.
BAD BLOOD: Tempers flared in the fourth when Richards hit Jayson Werth with an 0-and-2 fastball. Werth glared at Richards and then tried to obliterate Aybar, the Angels shortstop, with his take-out slide on Adam LaRoche’s ensuing fielder’s-choice grounder to second base. “He was upset, but I was upset, too,” Richards said. “That was not my intent with an 0-2 pitch. I tried to go in with a two-seamer, and it got away from me.”
QUOTEBOOK: “Everyone has their opinion. If they like him, they like him. If they like me, they like me. If they like both of us, then they know the game. If they don’t, they’re crazy.” — Nationals’ Bryce Harper on whether comparisons between him and Trout are fair.
EXTRA BASES: Shuck, the Angels left fielder, made a superb throw to second base from the gap to cut down Jose Lobaton, who was trying to stretch a single to a double in the third. … The Angels called up left-handed reliever Nick Maronde from triple-A Salt Lake.
UP NEXT: Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 3.43 ERA) will oppose Washington right-hander Taylor Jordan (0-2, 5.94) at Nationals Park on Tuesday at 4 p.m. PDT. On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 830.