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OC Register: Injury to Garrett Richards dampens Angels’ comeback victory over Mariners


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  • Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols, left, gets a hug from Mike Trout after hitting a three-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 10: Garrett Richards #43 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches during the first inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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  • Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards throws to the plate during the first inning of Tuesday’s game against the Mariners at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Mike Leake works against a Los Angeles Angels batter during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Los Angeles Angels second baseman Ian Kinsler throws out Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards delivers against an Seattle Mariners batter during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado, second from right, looks down as Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger (17) crosses the plate after hitting a three-run home run to score Jean Segura (2), celebrating with Dee Gordon (9) during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Seattle Mariners’ Mitch Haniger (17) gets congratulations from Jean Segura, left, Nelson Cruz (23), and Dee Gordon (9) after hitting a three-run home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 10: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim makes the catch on a fly ball hit by Ryon Healy #27 of the Seattle Mariners during the sixth inning of a game at Angel Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 10: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim grounds out as Chris Herrmann #26 of the Seattle Mariners looks on during the third inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 10: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim runs to first base after grounding out during the third inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 10: Jean Segura #2 of the Seattle Mariners tags out Ian Kinsler #3 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim stealing second base during the fourth inning of a game at Angel Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 10: Jose Alvarez #48 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Seattle Mariners’ Guillermo Heredia, right, reacts after being called out on strikes, as Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado throws the ball during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, right, of Japan, with Seattle Mariners catcher Chris Herrmann, left, watching, hits the ball to second baseman Dee Gordon, who made an errant throw to first during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, left, of Japan, reacts after he reached first, as the ball gets by Seattle Mariners first baseman Ryon Healy, right, for an error by second baseman Dee Gordon, during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani scores against the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 10: Shohei Ohtani #17 is congratulated by Mike Trout #27 and Justin Upton #8 after scoring on a single by Ian Kinsler #3 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the fourth inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols watches his three-run home run in front of Seattle Mariners catcher Chris Herrmann during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols, center, gets congratulations from Shohei Ohtani, next to Andrelton Simmons, right, after Pujols hit a three-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols, right, rounds third after hitting a three-run home run, as Seattle Mariners pitcher Mike Leake watches during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols points to the sky after hitting a three-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

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ANAHEIM — Another injury for Garrett Richards spoiled what should have been a satisfying night for the Angels.

The Angels’ 9-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night was marred by the Angels’ talented but oft-injured right-hander leaving the game with what the team described as right forearm irritation.

It is an ominous description that is sometimes associated with what turn out to be serious injuries. Richards will undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday.

Richards missed most of the 2016 season with a damaged ulnar collateral ligament. He underwent stem-cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma injections that healed his ligament enough for him to pitch without undergoing Tommy John surgery. He missed most of the 2017 season with a biceps nerve issue that he and the Angels have said was unrelated.

Richards had been healthy this year until missing three weeks with hamstring tightness in June. He was pitching his second game since returning from that on Tuesday night.

After allowing a three-run homer to Mitch Haniger on his seventh pitch of the game, Richards showed no signs of trouble as he retired eight of the next nine hitters.

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With Nelson Cruz at the plate in the third, Richards suddenly saw his fastball velocity drop from 95-96 mph to 92 mph. Catcher Martín Maldonado came to the mound and summoned trainer Adam Nevala and Manager Mike Scioscia. They spent just a few moments talking to Richards before he left the game, with a disgusted look on his face.

Losing Richards now presents multiple issues for the Angels.

With a 3.66 ERA, Richards is one of their best starters when he’s healthy. They will be hard-pressed to replace him as they try to climb back into the playoff chase.

If they remained far out of the race and decided to sell, Richards was the most attractive trade chip among their impending free agents. Now, trading him before the July 31 deadline might be off the table.

The loss of Richards cast a cloud over an otherwise impressive night for the rest of the Angels. They had their most productive offensive game since they scored nine runs since June 4.

The top two hitters in the Angels’ order – Kole Calhoun and Andrelton Simmons – each had three hits.

Down 3-0 in the first, they had back-to-back singles to lead to a run. In the second, Calhoun’s grounder drove in one and Simmons’ infield hit then tied it 3-3.

In the fourth, Calhoun scored on Simmons’ double to put the Angels ahead 4-3. They padded the lead on an Albert Pujols two-run homer later in the inning, and an Ian Kinsler RBI single.

Calhoun then belted a solo homer in the fifth inning. It was his fifth homer in 20 games since coming off the disabled list. He’s hitting .273 over that span, an upgrade from the .145 average he had when he went on the DL.

While the hitters got the Angels a lead, a string of Angels relievers held down the Mariners after Richards’ early exit. Noé Ramírez, Cam Bedrosian, José Álvarez, Hansel Robles and Taylor Cole collaborated on the final 19 outs, without allowing a run.

More to come on this story.

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