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Angels' Richards squares off with Scherzer-led Tigers

(SportsNetwork.com) - Garrett Richards faced off against one of the best pitchers in baseball last time out and didn't flinch.

Richards squares off against another top hurler on Thursday night when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim open a four-game series with Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers.

The right-handed Richards has been a force this season, going 11-2 with a 2.47 earned run average. He is unbeaten in nine straight appearances, winning seven decisions and allowing more than two runs just once in that span.

He drew the starting assignment opposite Seattle's Felix Hernandez on Saturday and kept his club in an eventual 3-2 setback in extra innings, yielding one run on three hits and a walk over eight innings with seven strikeouts.

"It's good to see our guys throw the ball as well as they did," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said on his team's website. "I thought Garrett did a tremendous job to match Felix Hernandez pitch-for-pitch and we definitely had our opportunities. We just couldn't push one across to get the win."

The 26-year-old Richards is 2-1 with a save and 2.70 ERA in seven previous meetings with Detroit, including two starts, and faces another 11-game winner tonight in Scherzer.

The right-handed Scherzer is 3-0 with a 1.87 ERA in his last five starts, though he did not factor into a 5-2 loss to Cleveland on Saturday. He was almost scratched from the start due to a neck issue, but ended up logging 5 2/3 decent innings and getting charged with two runs on six hits and four walks.

Scherzer, who turns 30 on Sunday, is 11-3 with a 3.34 ERA on the season and picked up a home victory over the Angels back on April 19. He scattered a run and fanned nine over seven innings, moving to 3-1 with a 2.16 ERA in five starts against them.

The Tigers lead the AL Central by 6 1/2 games over Cleveland for first place in the AL Central and picked up a series win over Arizona on Wednesday with an 11-5 victory.

Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer and Austin Jackson added a three-run double in the club's third victory in four games.

"Give the Diamondbacks credit. They kept clawing their way back in it," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. "It wasn't until Miggy's homer (in the eighth inning) that we put it away."

Hours after the game, the division leaders got help for the back end of their bullpen by acquiring closer Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers in exchange for pitching prospects Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson. Despite the move, Joe Nathan, who has a 5.89 ERA this season, is expected to remain Detroit's closer.

Soria will be counted on the get the ball to Nathan in the final inning after notching 17 saves and recording a 2.70 ERA in 35 games with the Rangers.

The Angels, meanwhile, avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles with a 3-2 victory on Wednesday.

Erick Aybar doubled home Josh Hamilton in the eighth inning to tie the game and Kole Calhoun worked a bases-loaded walk later in the frame to force in the go-ahead run.

The Angels won for the 15th time in their last 19 at home despite leaving 11 men on base and going 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Jered Weaver gave up six hits and a pair of runs, striking out six in eight innings.

"My fastball command was pretty good tonight. It sets up everything else," Weaver said. "I feel like I'm getting stronger."

Huston Street, who was acquired from San Diego Friday night, pitched the ninth for his first save in an Angels uniform and kept the team two games behind division-leading Oakland in the AL West.

The Angels won all six meetings with the Tigers a season ago before Detroit won two of three at home in late April.

07/24 10:59:57 ET