The difference in last night’s game against the Angels was simply Garrett Richards and his scoreless outing. The Angels starter was superior in stark contrast to the performance turned in the night before by CJ Wilson. The Astros offense was limited to just four hits throughout Richards’ eight innings of work.
Jarred Cosart was the Astros starting pitcher. He was very good to begin the game as he struck out Kole Calhoun prior to a pair of groundouts. In the bottom of the first, Dexter Fowler appeared to have an inside the park home run to lead off the Astros scoring. But his hit rolled under the gate-fence in rightfield and he was limited to a double. The offense could not get him home despite Fowler reaching third base.
Cosart retired the first 11 batters he faced prior to an Albert Pujols single in the 4th inning. He responded by striking out Josh Hamilton. Neither team really had much opportunity to score until David Freese doubled in the top of the fifth. But then Cosart and his strike-throwing ways became a little problematic. After the Freese double, the Angels played textbook baseball in advancing and scoring the runner.
With a 1-0 lead, Richards hit Chris Carter leading off the bottom of the fifth. Carter eventually made it to 2nd, but the Angels starter retired the next three batters following the hit-by-pitch.
Jarred came back out for the top of the 7th inning to my surprise. He was pitching well but the Angels were beginning to get good wood on the ball. Jarred was able to get two outs in the 7th inning, but with 2 runners on and Pujols at the plate, Bo Porter made the move for Kyle Farnsworth. The Astros-killer grounded to third baseman Matt Dominguez to conclude the top of the 7th inning.
The Angels would score again in the top of the 9th off of Jerome Williams. A walk to Calhoun and a wild pitch gave the Angels a runner in scoring position. Aybar hit his 16th double of the season to drive in the Angels’ leadoff hitter. Williams went on to get three outs, albeit using 28 pitches and giving up a run.
Joe Smith worked a perfect ninth inning to secure the Angels 4-0 shutout.