ANAHEIM -- Garrett Richards carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and combined with three relief pitchers to hold the Astros to one hit in the Angels' 3-1 win to earn a four-game series split Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.
Astros starter Scott Feldman sent down 12 of the first 13 batters he faced before the Angels loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth. The Angels scored three times, including twice on an infield hit by Chris Iannetta and subsequent throwing error by Feldman, who was otherwise strong in his seven innings.
"The story of the game was their starter did a good job," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He was very dominant and showed electric stuff. We hung in there a little bit with a few walks, a base hit and just didn't come up with enough damage. It was a well-pitched game on both sides. It's unfortunate to come out on the losing end of that. But a good all-around baseball game."
The Astros didn't get a hit until Jason Castro's one-out single in the seventh that loaded the bases. Richards hit Preston Tucker with a pitch to drive in a run, and reliever Fernando Salas got pinch-hitter Evan Gattis to pop out and strand the bases loaded.
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What a relief: Richards lost his no-hitter with one out in the seventh on a Castro single. And Richards lost his shutout when he hit Tucker with the bases loaded and two out. On came Salas, who averted further damage by getting Gattis on a popup to second baseman Johnny Giavotella.
"Fernando probably got the biggest out of the day, Gattis with the bases loaded," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. More >
Castro breaks up no-hitter: Just as Richards began to smell no-hitter, Castro doused those hopes with a one-out single in the seventh inning. The hit loaded the bases, but the only run the Astros managed came when Richards hit Tucker with a pitch.
"We had the bases loaded there and thought we had a pretty good opportunity, but they did a good job of executing today," Castro said. More >
Bases-loaded dribbler dooms Feldman: Feldman matched Richards through four innings, facing one over the minimum, before loading the bases with no outs in the fifth. He struck out C.J. Cron before Iannetta hit a dribbler on the left side of the infield that Feldman threw away trying to get an out at home. Two runs scored on scored on the play, and Kole Calhoun added a sac fly to make it 3-0.
"Tough one there," Feldman said. "I tried to flip and it costs us the game, pretty much. They score three that inning and Richards was throwing the ball great. That was pretty much the game right there." More >
He'll take it: Iannetta had been hitless in his past 14 at-bats when he was credited with the tiebreaking RBI infield single in the fifth inning. His last hit came the previous Sunday, when he ended a 0-for-21 skid.
"That last at-bat, I fouled two pitches straight back I wouldn't have handled a week ago," said Iannetta, who said he feels he's coming out of his long drought. "It's all about seeing pitches. When I start seeing pitches, the way I can, it relaxes me."
"I don't think you should start thinking about [a no-hitter] until you go out for the ninth inning." -- Richards, on his no-hit bid.
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This is the latest the Astros have been in first place since May 22, 2004, when they were 24-18 and led the National League Central.
Astros: Right-hander Collin McHugh takes the ball for Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. CT game against the defending World Series champion Giants at Minute Maid Park riding the longest active winning streak in the Major Leagues with 11 wins in a row. McHugh (4-0, 3.23 ERA) hasn't lost since July 27 of last year when he dropped his sixth consecutive start. During his winning streak, he's 11-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 16 starts (Astros are 14-2). .
Angels: Left-hander C.J. Wilson (1-2, 2.70) will be on the mound Tuesday night, when the Angels open a two-game home series against the Rockies at 7:05 p.m PT. Wilson has only faced the Rockies once in his long career, beating them, 7-2, on the road June 8, 2012, when he allowed one run and five hits in eight innings, walking one, and striking out nine.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.