Richards tries to string back-to-back wins together against A’s

( – Garrett Richards tries to string back-to-back wins
together on Thursday when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim close out a three-
game set with the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum.

Richards picked up his first win of the season on Friday against Texas, as he
allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings. He had lost his season debut
in his first start since the devastating knee injury that cut short his
breakout 2014 campaign.

Richards has struggled against the A’s, posting a 1-3 mark to go along with a
5.62 ERA in 11 games (7 starts).

Oakland, meanwhile, turns to Jesse Chavez, who will be making his second start
of the season. Chavez started the year in the bullpen, but made a spot start
last week and given the struggles of Kendall Graveman, he’s back in the
rotation on a full-time basis.

“Not only is he able to (start) on a moment’s notice, he showed what he’s
capable of doing in the first half of last year,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He
was as good as a lot of the guys on our team that (were) All-Stars. We’re
lucky to have a guy like Jesse Chavez.”

Chavez lost his only start this season to the Angels, but pitched well, giving
up just one hit, a two-run homer, in six innings of a 2-0 loss. In five
appearances this season he has pitched to a 0.71 ERA.

“It’s just a different title and role,” Chavez said. “That’s how I look at it.
I’ve still gotta go out there and do my job. Throw strikes and give us the
best chance to win, and go as deep as I can in the ballgame.”

Los Angeles evened this series at a game apiece on Wednesday, as Mike Trout
went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBI to lead the Angels to a 6-3 win.
Johnny Giavotella’s single in the seventh proved to be the game-winner for the
Angels, who snapped a two-game skid.

Fernando Salas (1-0) earned the win for an inning in relief of starter Matt
Shoemaker, who allowed three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings of work.

Marcus Semien went 3-for-4 with two runs scored for the A’s, while Stephen
Vogt, Ike Davis and Josh Reddick each knocked in a run in the loss.

The Angels and Athletics split a four-game set in Anaheim from April 20-23 and
Los Angeles has won 10 of the previous 13 encounters overall.