"You can't pitch like that, and not field your position, and expect to win," the Angels' young fireballer said. "These guys battled, played a great game, and I gave it away. It's a terrible feeling and something I'm going to have to eat."
On his 27th birthday, Richards gave up five runs for the second straight start. Two of them were unearned -- but that was because of his own error.
It came in the top of the seventh, with the score still knotted at 3 and a series win still very much within the Angels' grasp. Alexi Amarista drew a leadoff walk and Austin Hedges dropped down a sacrifice bunt. Richards ranged to his right, scooped it up, then failed to get it out of his glove for his second error of the game -- four innings after dropping a feed from Albert Pujols at first base.
"If he picks up that bunt," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "it changes the whole complexion of that inning."
Instead, the Padres had two on and none out for the top of the order. Richards retired Yangervis Solarte on a lineout and Will Venable on a pop out. But Justin Upton turned on a slider and barely got it through the left side of the infield to put the Padres on top. And Matt Kemp stayed on top of a high fastball and lined it into right field to make it a two-run game.
Richards has given up a combined 10 runs (eight earned) on 17 hits and four walks in 12 2/3 innings over his last two starts, raising his ERA from 2.29 to 3.12.
He's been a lot better than that, too.
"Sometimes you make good pitches and they still get hit," Richards said. "That kind of comes back to the misfortune of having a little bit of bad luck right now with the ground balls and everything just kind of finding holes. You can't beat yourself up over that stuff. You have to just keep continuing to make pitches and stay aggressive. They came out on top tonight, and I feel terrible about it."