ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Garrett Richards allowed five hits over seven innings to extend his personal winning streak to seven decisions as the Los Angeles Angels handed the Texas Rangers their sixth consecutive loss, 3-0 on Friday night.
Mike Trout provided Richards all the run support he needed with a solo home run in the fourth inning, his 22nd of the season.
Richards (11-2) is unbeaten in his last eight starts and the right-hander has an ERA of 1.27 during that span. His last loss was May 30, at Oakland.
Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar had two hits each for Los Angeles, and Alex Rios had two for Texas.
Texas right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-5) retired the first 10 batters he faced before Trout sent a 1-0 sinker 418 feet to center field for the game’s first run. Tepesch allowed two runs in the seventh.
The Rangers left eight men on base, including runners in scoring position in six innings.
The Angels have won eight of their last nine games and 17 of their last 21. Their record of 24-9 since June 6 is the best in the majors during that span.
The Rangers (38-55) have lost 12 of their last 13 games and 20 of their last 23, saddling them with the worst record in the major leagues.
Trout has driven in 45 runs in his last 51 games. He entered Friday’s game second in the American League in slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
Pujols opened the Angels’ sixth with a shot that went under the glove of shortstop Elvis Andrus and was ruled a single. Josh Hamilton pulled a liner to the right side that skimmed off the glove of second baseman Rougned Odor, sending Pujols to third.
Aybar hit an opposite-field flare to left that scored Pujols and ended Tepesch’s night. David Freese greeted reliever Neftali Feliz with a single up the middle to score Hamilton.
In Game 6 the 2011 World Series, Freese’s two-run hit to deep right field off Feliz over the glove of Nelson Cruz prevented the Rangers from clinching the franchise’s first Series title, and the Cardinals won Game 7.
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, one of the club’s two All-Stars, extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a third-inning single.
Rangers left fielder Jake Smolinski, who made his major league debut Monday, left the game following the second inning after being hit in the left elbow by a pitch by Richards. Smolinski had multi-hit games in his three starts before Friday night.
NOTES: The Rangers signed RHP Jerome Williams, released by Houston in June, to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Round Rock. Williams was 1-4 with a 6.04 ERA in 26 appearances. . Angels RHP Jared Weaver said he will be ready to start Saturday after leaving Monday’s game after two innings with a stiff back. . Rangers C Geovany Soto made a written apology through the club after being arrested Wednesday on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession.