Angels' big three homer in Game 1 victory

Trout, Pujols and Hamilton go deep to back Richards' strong start

Angels' big three homer in Game 1 victory

CHICAGO -- Garrett Richards recovered brilliantly from early troubles and got help from his three superstar teammates, as Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton homered to lead the Angels to an 8-4 win in Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader from U.S. Cellular Field.

Richards, coming off posting a 1.05 ERA in June, walked the first two batters of the game, then served up a one-out, three-run homer to White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, the Cuban sensation who became the first player to hit 26 home runs in his first 70 games.

After that, Richards retired 23 of the next 25 batters, pitching eight innings of three-run ball to move to 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA in his All-Star-worthy season. The 26-year-old right-hander gave up just two hits, walked two and struck out nine, the fourth time this season he has fanned that many.

"I think I was the same pitcher from beginning to end," Richards said. "I wasn't going to let three runs in the first ruin my day. I think that's the maturing process that I've gone through as a pitcher, and I'm happy with the direction I'm moving."

White Sox starter Hector Noesi didn't allow a hit through the first four innings, but issued five walks in that span and then gave up the lead in the fifth.

With runners on first and second and one out, Trout dumped a 2-2 fastball just to the right of the left-field foul pole and barely over the fence for his team-leading 19th home run. The next batter, Pujols, gave the Angels (46-35) their first lead with a homer to center, which gave him 17 and marked the second time he and Trout have gone back-to-back this season.

Two innings later, Hamilton got into the mix with a solo shot just over the fence in right-center field, his fourth and his first since June 3 -- Hamilton's first day back from a surgically repaired left thumb.

It marked the second time Trout, Pujols and Hamilton have homered in the same game, having also done it May 14, 2013, against the Royals.

"We don't need all three of them in one game, but we'd like a chance to get one of them to square one up when they get their opportunity," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "The big guys in the middle got some big hits for us. Mike, huge home run to get us back in it. And Albert's was big. They were all big; all the runs, obviously. But it's good to see those guys drive the ball."

Reliever Rich Hill made his Angels debut in the ninth, allowing one hit and two walks to the three hitters he faced. Joe Smith induced a run-scoring double play and a game-ending groundout to squash the threat.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.