Richards attempts to build on the best performance by an Angels starter this season, as he takes the mound in the opener of a four-game series in Seattle on Thursday night.
Los Angeles (8-12) has a 4.88 ERA - 5.35 from the rotation - ranking ahead of only Houston's 5.19 in the majors.
Seattle (8-15) isn't much better with a 4.65 ERA to rank 28th.
Los Angeles, though, is expected to be a pennant contender with one of the highest payrolls in baseball at $148.5 million.
Richards (1-0, 2.55 ERA), who makes $495,000, turned in the best effort for the Angels so far, and he's getting his third start in place of Jered Weaver , who is on the disabled list with a broken left elbow.
Richards had a career high-tying eight strikeouts and yielded two hits in seven innings of a 10-0 home win over Detroit on Saturday. The right-hander also benefited from the offense staking him to a nine-run lead in the opening inning.
"I don't pay attention to the score. I try to pitch the same, whether it's 9-0 or 0-0," Richards said.
He's 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in six games against Seattle. The victory came in his only start against the AL West rival, yielding one run in seven innings last June.
The Angels, 7-3 at Seattle last year, could use another strong start from Richards since the rotation has a 6.04 ERA since his latest outing.
That includes Wednesday's 11-3 defeat to Texas, as Michael Roth was tagged for five runs in 3 1-3 innings of his first career start. The rookie was filling in for Tommy Hanson , who is on the bereavement list following a death in his family.
Manager Eric Wedge may be hoping the Mariners respond from a team meeting held after losing 10-3 at Houston on Wednesday, capping a 1-5 road trip.
Seattle's pitchers compiled a 6.61 ERA - 7.59 from the starters - over that stretch.
"It's been a bad road trip, and we are not off to the start we'd like, for sure," Wedge said. "But we have the players in there to be a good team, and that is what bothers me more than anything. We just have to peck away and get this thing turned around."
Maurer (1-3, 7.45) will try to start that process as he faces Los Angeles for the first time. The rookie has yielded two runs in each of his past two outings - both against the Rangers - after surrendering 12 over the first two.
He turned in his best performance of the season Saturday, yielding only a pair of solo homers in 6 2-3 innings in a 5-0 loss at Texas.
"I've been really happy with his last two starts," Wedge told the team's official website. "I think he sees the game differently now than when he first came up, which is very common for a young starting pitcher."
Seattle's Kyle Seager is batting .383 with seven doubles, two homers and eight RBIs during a 13-game hitting streak. The third baseman is a career .198 hitter against the Angels, but is 4 for 9 with two doubles, a homer, two RBIs and four runs over the last two matchups.
He's also 2 for 4 versus Richards.
Los Angeles' Josh Hamilton is 6 for 12 following a 1-for-21 slump, but hit .182 in six games in Seattle last season.
|Los Angeles Angels|
|April 20, 2013||Mark Lowe||15-Day DL||Neck stiffness|
|April 13, 2013||Kevin Jepsen||15-Day DL||Right triceps tightness|
|April 11, 2013||Alberto Callaspo||Day-to-Day||Calf|
|April 11, 2013||Alberto Callaspo||15-Day DL||Right calf tightness|
|April 10, 2013||Erick Aybar||15-Day DL||Bruised left heel|
|April 09, 2013||Erick Aybar||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised left heel|
|April 23, 2013||Franklin Gutierrez||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|April 22, 2013||Franklin Gutierrez||Day-to-Day||Torn right hamstring|
|April 15, 2013||Stephen Pryor||15-Day DL||Torn right lat muscle|
|April 12, 2013||Michael Morse||Day-to-Day||Fractured finger|
|April 11, 2013||Michael Saunders||15-Day DL||Sprained right shoulder|
|April 10, 2013||Michael Saunders||Day-to-Day||Sprained right shoulder|
SEATTLE (AP) -- Carlos Peguero 's mammoth third-inning home run left a lasting impression on his teammates.
The 451-foot shot - third longest in Safeco Field history - jump-started the moribund Mariners offense as they went on to a 6-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.
It was only the third time in the past 15 games that Seattle has scored more than three runs in a game.
Peguero broke a scoreless tie in the third with his solo shot on a 3-2 pitch from Garrett Richards (1-1). The only two longer home runs in the stadium's 12 1/2-year history were 462 feet by San Francisco's Barry Bonds (June 16, 2006) and 460 feet by Mariners' Raul Ibanez (June 20, 2007).
It's believed Peguero is the second player ever to hit the centerfield batter's eye. The other was Mike Napoli in 2008. It also was his first at-bat this season as he was called up from Triple-A Tacoma Tuesday when Franklin Gutierrez was placed on the disabled list.
"That was pretty impressive. He hit the batter's eye," said Kyle Seager , who had three hits, including a two-run home run. "What they say 450(1)? I don't know how they measure that but that's a long way. That's pretty tough to top.
"Anytime you see the first at-bat of the year and he hits it two-thirds up the batter's eye...I haven't even got one to center field in BP."
The Mariners were coming off a 1-5 road trip in which they scored just three runs or fewer in all their losses, including two shutouts. Their 10-3 loss to Houston Wednesday prompted manager Eric Wedge to hold a closed-door meeting after the game.
"He gave a nice talk. He got everyone's attention," Seager said. "We know we had to play better. We played with more of an edge today."
Seager extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games. That matches the longest streak in the majors this season, as Chicago Cubs ' Starlin Castro and Philadelphia's Michael Young each had 14. Seager is hitting .412 (21 of 51) during his streak. He moved his average from .147 to .306. It also was his third three-hit game this season.
Jason Bay had two hits and two RBI and Endy Chavez had three hits.
Rookie Brandon Maurer (2-3) went 6 1-3 innings to pick up the victory. He allowed seven hits, struck out six and walked one.
After posting a 16.20 ERA in his first two starts, Maurer has a 1.89 ERA in his last three games.
"He's tough on right-handed hitters," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Maurer. "One thing he did was pound the zone, especially after he got the lead. He pitched a strong game for them."
That initial lead was provided by Peguero's power.
"I fell behind, 0-2 count," he said. "Then I just tried to make contact with the ball, hopefully, put a good swing on that ball. And that happened."
Did he watch it?
"Always like a hitter you want to see how far you hit the ball," Peguero said.
The Mariners continued to rally in the third. Bay singled to right and advanced to second on Chavez's one-out single to right. Seager followed with his single to left, scoring Bay from second.
The Mariners added a pair of runs in the seventh on Bay's bases-loaded single to left. He is a .287 career hitter with the bases loaded. It was the Mariners first hit in 10 tries with the bases loaded this season.
Seager finished the scoring in the eighth when he hit his third home run of the season on a 2-1 pitch Nick Maronde .
"It's nice to get the homestand started off on a good note," Seager said. "Maurer threw the ball good tonight. He gave us every chance to win."
Notes: The Mariners are dealing with a series of injuries to key players. OF Michael Saunders (right AC joint) likely will be sent out to Tacoma Friday to rehab. OF Franklin Gutierrez (right hamstring), placed on the DL Thursday, has a grade 1 strain, based on Thursday's MRI. He could be out two to three weeks. Also, OF Michael Morse (non-displaced right pinkie finger fracture) is playing through the pain, although hitting just .162 since his injury (April 16). "We're dinged up. It is what it is," Mariners' manager Eric Wedge said. ... Angels also have a healthy list of key unavailable players. RHP Tommy Hanson , on bereavement leave, is expected to start Monday against Oakland. "We're penciling him in on Monday. We'll get more clarity within the next 48 hours," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. SS Erick Aybar (left heel contusion) played five innings in the minors on his way back. He'll be evaluated Friday. 2B Alberto Callaspo (right calf strain) is eligible to come off the DL this weekend.