Angels

Richards Helps Angels Pound Rays 11-2

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(credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

(credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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ANAHEIM (AP) — Garrett Richards worked around a career-high seven walks over five innings and Erick Aybar drove in four runs, helping the Los Angeles Angels beat the Tampa Bay Rays 11-2 on Monday night.

Richards (5-6) gave up a run and two hits while striking out six in the opener of a four-game series. The seven walks matched Richards’ total from his previous five starts combined, but the Rays stranded eight runners while he was in the game and 12 altogether.

Ben Zobrist drove in both of Tampa Bay’s runs with a first-inning homer and a sixth-inning single. The Rays, coming off a three-game sweep by Oakland, have lost five straight and eight of nine to fall 6½ games behind AL East-leading Boston — their largest deficit since July 7. Just nine games ago, they were tied with the Red Sox.

Tampa Bay loaded the bases twice against Richards, and failed to score in each situation.

In the second, Richards retired David DeJesus on a grounder to first after a pair of two-out walks and an error by rookie third baseman Luis Jimenez on Yunel Escobar’s grounder. Richards walked three more in the fifth before striking out rookie Wil Myers on a full count with his 27th pitch of the inning.

Rookie Chris Archer (8-6) threw 90 pitches in 3 2-3 innings, giving up five runs and nine hits in a rematch of his 4-1 victory against Richards last Wednesday at St. Petersburg, Fla. The right-hander’s outing was the second-shortest of his 22 big league starts.

The Angels, who have won nine of 10, took a 2-1 lead in the third on an RBI single by rookie Kole Calhoun. Archer minimized the damage, retiring Jimenez on a fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop with the bases loaded after an intentional walk to Hank Conger.

But Los Angeles got three more in the fourth. Andrew Romine scored on J.B. Shuck’s groundout, and the switch-hitting Aybar pulled a 3-2 pitch down the right-field line for his fifth homer.

The Angels extended the margin to 10-2 with a five-run sixth that included Aybar’s two-run triple against Brandon Gomes, bases-loaded RBI singles by Conger and Peter Bourjos, and Jimenez’s sacrifice fly.

Aybar’s four RBIs tied a career high for the shortstop, who also drove in four against the Rays in a 6-5 victory last Tuesday at Tropicana Field — including a go-ahead two-run double in the ninth against closer Fernando Rodney.

Zobrist, the second batter Richards faced, hit his 11th home run before the Angels responded in the bottom half with an RBI single by Josh Hamilton after Mike Trout singled and stole his 30th base. Trout, who turned 22 on Aug. 7, became the youngest player in major league history with two seasons of at least 20 homers and 30 steals.

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