SEATTLE (AP) –– Albert Pujols homered for the second straight game while Garrett Richards and two relievers combined on one-hitter as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 2-0 on Wednesday night.
On the day the Angels lost Josh Hamilton for potentially up to two months to injury, Pujols provided the biggest blow. He hit a two-run homer in the third off Seattle starter Roenis Elias (0-1). That was all the offense the Angels got, but all they needed with how Richards was pitching.
Richards (2-0) threw seven shutout innings. Abraham Almonte was the only Seattle batter to reach via hit when he singled in the third inning.
Richards walked three batters and the Angels committed two errors. But Richards overcame those mistakes by striking out six.
Joe Smith pitched a perfect eighth and Ernesto Frieri pitched the ninth for his first save of the season. It was the first one-hitter by the Angels since Ervin Santana in June 2012 vs. Arizona, and first thrown against Seattle since July 2013 by Houston.
The last combined one-hitter by the Angels came in May 2012 against Oakland.
It was a miserable start to the day for the Angels after learning that Hamilton is likely to miss the next six to eight weeks after suffering an injury to his left thumb the night before sliding headfirst into first base. An MRI Wednesday revealed a complete tear of the thumb’s ulnar collateral ligament. He’ll be examined in Los Angeles on Friday to determine if he’ll need surgery.
The day ended with Los Angeles picking up its first win this season against Seattle after being outscored 31-11 in losing the first four meetings against the Mariners.
Richards throwing a gem in Seattle should not have come as a surprise. The last time he started in Seattle last August, Richards threw 7 1-3 shutout innings. In 12 innings this season, Richards has given up one earned run and struck out 13. His only issue is walks and pitch count. He walked five in his season debut against Houston last week, lasting just five innings.
Pujols’ blast went 418-feet into the netting beyond the Angels bullpen in left field, and like the night before, Mike Trout was on base. Pujols is now six homers shy of becoming the 26th player in baseball history to reach 500 homers in his career.
Elias was done after five innings, another solid start for the youngster who never pitched above Double-A last season. His only mistake was the homer given up to Pujols, but better efficiency with his pitches could have equaled a longer start. Elias struck out two and walked one.
Notes: Angels SS Erick Aybar was a late scratch from the lineup after getting some pre-game dental work. He was replaced by John McDonald. … Injured Seattle started Taijuan Walker (shoulder) threw five shutout innings for Double-A Jackson in a rehab outing on Wednesday. Walker struck out 10. … One of Seattle’s other injured starters, Hisashi Iwakuma, threw his first bullpen session on Wednesday as he continues to work back from a finger injury that kept him from throwing for most of spring training.