The Los Angeles Angels beat cross-town rivals the Dodgers 5-0 on Monday in the opening of the latest Freeway Series, with Garrett Richards pitching his first career shutout.
It is a high-stakes series for both teams, not just because of local pride, with the Angels’ victory keeping them within one game of American League West leaders Oakland, while the loss cut the Dodgers’ lead over San Francisco in the National League West was to 1.5 games.
Angels’ sluggers Mike Trout and Albert Pujols had RBI doubles in a four-run first inning that effectively decided the game.
The only other run of the contest came from a Josh Hamilton homer in the sixth.
Richards (12-4) was dominant in his first nine-inning complete game, striking out nine and retiring 15 of 16 in the middle innings with a fastball regularly hitting 157kph.
In another key clash of area rivals on Monday, Baltimore won at Washington in a showdown of teams that hold top spots in the AL East and NL East respectively.
Baltimore’s Caleb Joseph homered and drove in three runs, while J.J. Hardy had four hits to lead the Orioles past the Nationals 7-3.
Hardy and Ryan Flaherty opened the seventh inning with successive doubles off Tanner Roark (11-7) to tie the game at three-all, before Delmon Young followed with an RBI single and Adam Jones capped the rally with a run-scoring single.
Orioles’ starter Kevin Gausman (6-3) pitched six innings to take the win in a game which made up for a rainout four weeks earlier.
In other interleague play, Cleveland’s Corey Kluber allowed one run in 7-1/3 innings to win his fifth straight decision and lead the Indians over Cincinnati 7-1.
In an American League clash, Oakland stayed just ahead of the Angels by edging Tampa Bay, with Derek Norris scoring the winning hit in the 10th inning against former Athletics’ closer Grant Balfour.
The A’s loaded the bases against Balfour (1-4), who received a mound visit before from the manager, and then struck out Brandon Moss for the second out.
Norris delivered with only the second game-ending hit of his career, hitting a single up the middle.
Elsewhere in the AL, New York’s Brandon McCarthy won his fourth start in a row with a gritty effort as the Yankees beat Detroit 2-1 in the first of three-straight games against the Tigers’ trio of pitching aces.
McCarthy (4-0) allowed one unearned run in 5 2-3 innings. The Yankees have won each of his five starts since being acquired from Arizona.
Tigers starter Max Scherzer (13-4) took the loss despite giving up only a single and a sacrifice fly in seven innings. New signing David Price was to pitch for Detroit yesterday, followed by Justin Verlander today.
In Chicago, Illinois, Tyler Flowers homered and drove in three runs, while Jose Abreu had two hits and two RBIs to lead the White Sox 5-3 over Texas in a rain-shortened seven-inning game.
In the National League, San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval drove in three runs and got three hits, including an RBI double with two outs in the ninth that sent the Giants to a 4-3 win over the New York Mets.