Starting pitcher Garrett Richards #43 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on April 9, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Garrett Richards struck out six over seven stellar innings of one-hit ball, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim shut out the Seattle Mariners, 2-0, in the finale of a brief two-game set Wednesday at Safeco Field.
Albert Pujols scorched a two-run homer in the third to provide more than enough run support for Richards (2-0), who issued three walks and yielded Seattle's only hit on an Abraham Almonte single in the third.
With Richards done after 104 pitches, reliever Joe Smith struck out two in a perfect eighth before Ernesto Frieri worked around a one-out walk in the ninth to record his first save of the season.
Pujols and John McDonald picked up two hits apiece for the Angels, who dropped Tuesday's series opener, 5-3.
Roenis Elias (0-1) absorbed the loss in just his second major league start after giving up two runs on four hits and a walk over five frames.
Richards' outing got off to a shaky start, as he walked Almonte to open the home half of the first before issuing a two-out free pass to Justin Smoak. However, the 25-year-old right-hander induced a line out from Corey Hart to escape the frame unscathed.
Pujols put the Halos on the board with two away in the third, launching an 0-1 changeup over the bullpen in left to plate McDonald, who was hit by a pitch to start the inning.
Almonte notched Seattle's lone hit in the home half of the third before moving to second when Brad Miller reached on McDonald's fielding error. Both runners moved up a base on Robinson Cano's groundout, but were stranded there after Smoak struck out swinging to end the frame.
LA's pitching staff did the rest, as the Mariners failed to move another runner into scoring position from there, allowing the Angels to escape with a series split.
LA's Erick Aybar was scratched from the lineup after having some dental work done prior to the game ... Earlier Wednesday, the Angels announced that Josh Hamilton will miss the next 6-to-8 weeks due to a thumb injury that will require surgery ... Elias allowed just a run and two hits over five innings in his major league debut on April 3, but did not factor in the decision ... Seattle went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven.