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LAst Night's Action: Groin Down the Drain for Rookie Garrett Richards and Angels

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Texas Rangers defeat LA Angels 8-4. Dan Haren told reporters over the weekend that the Angels couldn’t afford to dig themselves a deeper hole in the race for the AL West. Coming into their four-game series against the first place Rangers down four games, there is some pressure on them especially coming off of a 2-4 road trip which culminated in an extra-innings bullpen meltdown in Toronto Sunday afternoon.

While they were probably wary of rookie Garrett Richards only making his second Big League start in a crucial game, nothing they could have imagined could have prepared them for what happened.

Not only did Richards give up a leadoff double to Ian Kinsler who scored thanks to a throwing error by catcher Bobby Wilson and a groundout by Elvis Andrus. But on a 1-2 pitch to Nelson Cruz, Richards had to leave the game with a strained groin after 19 pitches.

Bobby Cassevah did a good job picking up the pieces although he did allow Kinsler to score again in the third inning after hitting another double. By then Torii Hunter’s good base running in the second inning allowed the Angels to score a run on Vernon Wells’ RBI double. So as bad as things could have been, it wasn’t by any means catastrophic.

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Enter Hisanori Takahashi in the fourth inning. He actually finished off Cassevah’s inning retiring the two batters he faced in that inning. But in the fifth inning after giving up singles to Mitch Moreland and Kinsler to lead off, he went cute and tried to get Moreland at third base on Elvis Andrus’ sacrifice bunt. Instead the ball went down the third baseline, Moreland scored and Andrus and Kinsler were safe on second and third.

After Takahashi struck out Josh Hamilton, a two-run single to Michael Young gave the Rangers the 5-1 lead and knocked Takahashi out of the game. Unfortunately that didn’t stop the bleeding.

Rich Thompson came in and gave up back-to-back homers to Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli, his first against his old team. Six runs, five hits and the damage was done.

The fact that Rangers’ starter Alexi Ogando came into the game with a career 0.41 ERA and a .176 batting average against the Angels, things didn’t look too optimistic. But with one out in the seventh inning, Russell Branyan came in and got a pinch-hit two-run homer that knocked Ogando out of the game with four earned runs. Perhaps it was because this was Ogando’s first year in the rotation after being used in the bullpen last season, so he might be a little weary this late in the season. Regardless, Rangers’ manager Ron Washington put a halt to that and brought in Koji Uehara who stopped the nonsense.

So the Angels now fall five games back and have rookie Tyler Chatwood starting on Tuesday with Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver closing out the series.

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Milwaukee Brewers defeat LA Dodgers 3-0. Brewers’ second baseman Josh Wilson is a thorn in the Dodgers’ side. On May 4, 2009 as a shortstop for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Wilson started the last triple play on a Casey Blake liner at Dodger Stadium. In the second inning Wilson did it to the Dodgers yet again. It started out looking a like great double play with Wilson tossing the ball behind his back to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt covering second. After Betancourt made the throw to Prince Fielder at first base, Fielder alertly lasered the ball to catcher George Kotteras who tagged out Matt Kemp sliding to the plate.

And that’s the kind of night it was for the Dodgers. With Ted Lilly and his slightly tweaked mechanics starting for the Dodgers, he certainly kept them in the game giving up only a solo homer to Ryan Braun in the fourth inning in his seven innings of work. But facing the first place team in the NL Central as opposed to the last place team, the offense couldn’t get anything going against former Dodger Randy Wolf. Meanwhile Scott Elbert gave up a homer to Jonathan Lucroy and Mike MacDougal gave one up to Corey Hart both in the eighth inning.


LA Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers. 5:10 p.m. KCAL9, AM 790 KABC.

Texas Rangers at LA Angels. 7:05 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.