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Garrett Richards dominates Dodgers in Freeway Series opener

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers fell behind early in an ugly first inning, then were shut down by the flame-throwing Garrett Richards in a 5-0 loss to the Angels to open the Freeway Series on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Richards struck out nine in nine innings and allowed only five hits, pitching the first complete-game shutout against the Dodgers since Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies on June 1, 2011.

"His stuff is electric," said manager Don Mattingly. "We didn't really do anything with him at all."

The first inning was sloppy all around for Zack Greinke and the defense behind him. After coming close to making a sliding catch of Kole Calhoun's drive in left field to open the game, Carl Crawford made an ill-advised attempt to catch a drive by Mike Trout. The ball got past Crawford to the wall, but any thoughts of a triple or inside-the-park home run ended when Trout initially failed to touch first base.

Albert Pujols obliterated a ball for a line drive double to the wall in center field, giving the Angels a quick 2-0 lead with nobody out.

"I wasn't even close to hitting the spot against Trout and Pujols, and they did what they should have done. By then it was kind of too late," Greinke said. "I just tried to keep them there, but still gave up a couple runs. It was pretty much a bad game all around."

It looked like the Dodgers might escape further damage when first baseman Adrian Gonzalez made a quick, and accurate, throw home to cut down Pujols on a ground ball, but that run prevention was undone when an errant throw by Hanley Ramirez turned a potential inning-ending grounder into another run, and extended inning.

A wild pitch by Greinke, his second of the inning, put Howie Kendrick in scoring position, then a David Freese single gave the Angels a 4-0 lead.

Ramirez made a second throwing error in the fourth inning, allowing Freese to reach base. That was the only blemish against Greinke, who settled down through the fifth to retire 13 of 14 batters after falling behind 4-0, though some of those were hard-hit balls that happened to be right at people.

That streak ended with another hard hit ball to open the fifth, this time hit by Josh Hamilton and caught by a fan in the right field pavilion to give the Angels a 5-0 lead. Greinke lamented his changeup.

"That was probably one of the worst pitches ever thrown," Greinke said. "I just couldn't believe it."

After the bullpen threw 14⅔ innings in the three-game weekend series against the Cubs, Greinke was able to provide some relief on Monday by lasting seven innings even after the poor start. Greinke has pitched seven or more innings in three straight and six of his last seven starts.

Notes

Carlos Frias made his major league debut, entering in relief in the eighth inning. Frias allowed one hit — a single by Pujols, his first batter faced — and struck out two in two scoreless innings. Kendrick was his first major league strikeout.

"For a first outing, he was pretty good. We saw heavy sink. He got a curveball over, he got a changeup over. He attacked the strike zone. There really wasn't anything not to like," Mattingly said. "It should be a confidence builder for him."

The single in the fourth inning by Crawford snapped an 0-for-21 streak by Dodgers left fielders, and an 0-for-15 skid by Crawford, who was 2-for-4 Monday and is 9-for-58 (.155) since returning from the disabled list.

"I think Carl's been swinging the bat okay. I know he hasn't had a lot of hits since the break, but if you really break down the at-bats he's hit some line drives," Mattingly said. "Yesterday he lined out, the day before he hit a couple balls on the nose. Carl keeps fighting and keeps competing. Carl is one of those guys who can get hot."

Richards' Game Score of 84 is the tied for the best against the Dodgers this season, matching Cliff Lee on April 21.

Richards entered Monday averaging 96.3 mph on his fastball this season, the second-fastest velocity in baseball this season. Against the Dodgers Richards threw 98 mph 28 times and 99 mph seven times on Monday.

"He's got some of the best stuff in baseball," Greinke said of Richards.

The double by Pujols in the first inning was the 550th of his career, moving him past Chipper Jones into 26th place all alone on the all-time doubles list. Up next is Eddie Murray and Jeff Kent, both with 560 career doubles.

Up next

After losing three of their last four games the Dodgers turn to ace Clayton Kershaw in the finale of the Dodgers' eight-game homestand on Tuesday night. The Angels counter with fellow southpaw Hector Santiago, who has allowed one run in his last 15 innings.

Monday particulars

Home run: Josh Hamilton (8)

WP -Garrett Richards (12-4): 9 IP, 5 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts

LP - Zack Greinke (12-7): 7 IP, 6 hits, 5 runs (3 earned), 5 strikeouts