D-backs sustain another shutout in Anaheim

D-backs sustain another shutout in Anaheim

D-backs sustain another shutout in Anaheim
ANAHEIM -- For a second straight game and the third time in a week, the D-backs' offense came up empty.

Rookie Garrett Richards held the D-backs to four hits in eight-plus innings to lead the Angels to a 2-0 victory on Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.

With the loss, the D-backs finished their six-game trip through Arlington and Anaheim with a 2-4 record. Not terrible against two of the better teams in baseball, but when your pitching staff allows more than three runs just once during that span, you would expect to come away with more wins.

"We knew it was going to be a tough trip. We hoped for better results," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We struggled offensively with our consistency, but tomorrow's a new day and we'll push forward."

The D-backs open a six-game homestand on Monday with a three-game series with the Mariners before the Cubs come in for the weekend.

Maybe a return home will help heat up the Arizona bats. The D-backs scored 17 runs on the trip, but that's misleading when you consider that 11 of them came in Thursday's win against the Rangers and five came the following night when they beat the Angels in the first game of this series.

Aside from those wins, the D-backs were blanked three times and scored one run in another loss.

"Guys are grinding," D-backs outfielder Chris Young said. "Guys are trying to feel better at the plate and get runners in. We may be pressing a little too much, maybe. Whatever it may be, we still have to make the adjustment a lot faster than we are."

Richards (2-0) was making just his third Major league start and fourth big league appearance. The right-hander fanned five and walked four. His ERA is 0.86.

"This is kind of a reoccurring theme for us," Gibson said. "Not to take any credit from him, but we obviously need to make some adjustments. We've got to be more consistent, and that's certainly our responsibility to correct that."

The D-backs wasted another fine pitching performance, this one by Ian Kennedy.

"He did a great job today," Richards said of Kennedy. "We battled it out throughout the whole day. He was impressive. He was tough. He's a tough pitcher."

Kennedy scattered six hits in going the distance. He struck out six and didn't walk a batter while allowing two runs.

"Their guy did a really good job against us," said Kennedy, who fell to 5-7. "I was the second-best pitcher today. He was pretty dang good out there. He's got pretty good stuff."

The offensive damage for the Angels was done by a pair of players -- Albert Pujols and Mike Trout -- who the D-backs had been able to hold in check the first two games of the series.

Pujols got the Angels on the board in the fourth inning when he hit a 1-0 changeup over the wall in center.

"That one was down, he just did a real good job of hitting," Kennedy said. "He's a good hitter, you've got to tip your hat on that one. My goal was to get it down and hopefully get him off the end of the bat and he just stayed back and backspun it."

Then, in the seventh, the Angels caught a break when right fielder Justin Upton lost Erick Aybar's fly ball in the sun and it fell for a ground-rule double to start the inning.

Trout cashed in for the Angels when he doubled with two outs for a 2-0 advantage.

The pitch to Trout was really one of Kennedy's lone mistakes on the day, a cut fastball that stayed up and caught a little too much of the plate.

At the time of his homer, Pujols was 0-for-9 in the series. Trout, meanwhile, was 0-for-11 before his double.

"We did a lot of homework and we executed," Kennedy said of the staff's success against the pair. "When you execute it makes it look easier. Obviously they're good hitters."

Despite the offensive struggles, Kennedy said the pitchers are not pointing fingers at the hitters.

"They're trying as hard as they can," Kennedy said. "They're plugging away, they're working as hard as they can. I know that they want to do well and we're giving it all we have, too."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.