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Richards fans eight for first win

Although neither of his first two starts this season ended in a loss, Angels rookie Garret Richards hopes Sunday's game against the D-Backs goes more like his first start than his second.

Going seven innings while giving up one earned run on just four hits on June 5 against Seattle, Richards walked just two batters while striking out six. In his next start, on Monday against the Dodgers, Richards walked five batters and struck out four in five innings.

"I was nibbling a lot," Richards said. "But once I got deeper into the game, I began to attack hitters and was more successful."

Despite the lack of control, Richards still only surrendered one earned run as the Angels beat the Dodgers, 3-2. The 24-year-old right-hander said that experience will help him going forward, including Sunday's game against Arizona.

"It says something that you're able to pitch out of jams when you don't have your best stuff or are missing spots," Richards said.

Richards' counterpart in Sunday's game will be D-backs right-hander Ian Kennedy. After winning two straight starts, Kennedy coasted through five innings against the Rangers on Tuesday. Kennedy was chased from the game with two outs in the sixth, though, and ended up surrendering six earned runs in a 9-1 loss.

"Just bad pitches, leaving the ball up where they could hit," Kennedy said. "It's frustrating when you can't get that third out."

On the season, Kennedy is 5-6, including a four-game losing streak in May. He has a 4.32 ERA with 75 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings. When he takes the hill on Sunday, he and the D-backs will look to avoid losing their second straight series after sweeping the Athletics and winning three series in a row.

Angels: Pujols takes a half-day
After fouling a ball off his shin on Friday night, Albert Pujols was given a break from his defensive duties on Saturday. He was still in the lineup, though, batting third as the Angels' designated hitter.

Pujols went 0-for-4. Manager Mike Scioscia said before Saturday's game that he doesn't believe his All-Star first baseman's injury is serious.

"He could play the field if we needed him to," Scioscia said.

D-backs: Collmenter turns things around
After four starts, Josh Collmenter was not getting it done as part of the rotation. With a 9.82 ERA, the right-hander was moved to the bullpen.

Since then, Collmenter has flourished, earning a 1.53 ERA in eight appearances. According to Collmenter, though, it's not the change in role that's led to his success.

"Now that my mechanics are back on track, everything feels normal and natural, and I don't have to do anything out of the ordinary to get the ball to do what I want it to," he said. "I was forcing some things, and the ball was coming back over the plate. Those balls ended up doing a lot of damage. I'm back to being able to pound both sides of the plate with my fastball. Offspeed stuff was good, but it was just the fastball control wasn't there. It's good to get that back."

Worth noting
• D-backs shortstop Willie Bloomquist's streak of reaching base safely in 21 straight games ended Saturday with an 0-for-4 performance with no walks.

• With a win Sunday, the Angels will have won 12 of their last 13 Interleague series.

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