ANAHEIM, California — Johnny Giavotella felt he had no choice but to try and stretch his pinch-hit single against San Diego closer Craig Kimbrel into a double with two out in the ninth inning and the Los Angeles Angels down a run.
Giavotella gambled on right fielder Matt Kemp's arm, and lost. So did the Angels, as Garrett Richards dropped a 5-4 decision to Andrew Cashner and the Padres despite Matt Joyce's game-tying solo homer in the sixth.
"I was trying to get in scoring position with two outs," Giavotella said. "Against a guy like Craig Kimbrel, you need to get in scoring position because it's going to be really hard to get a couple of hits back to back. I don't regret going, and I'd do it again if I had the chance."
Manager Mike Scioscia defended Giavotella's snap decision.
"Johnny had a good read on it. The ball was right in front of him and he was running the whole way. But they made a good defensive play," Scioscia said. "At first we definitely shot he had a good shot at second, but Kemp made a terrific throw. It's baseball — and in that situation, getting in scoring position is important."
Richards (4-3) was charged with five runs and eight hits over 6 2-3 innings on his 27th birthday, including two-out RBI singles by Justin Upton and Kemp that snapped a 3-3 tie in the seventh.
Both of those runs were unearned, after the right-hander committed his second error of the game when he mishandled a sacrifice bunt to the left of the mound by Austin Hedges after a leadoff walk to Alexi Amarista.
"I think I just went to throw the ball before I caught it," Richards said. "I feel totally responsible for this game. You can't pitch like that and not field your position and expect to win. These guys battled, and I gave it away."
Richards, whose 2014 season ended prematurely with a knee injury that occurred in August while he was covering first base at Fenway Park, also dropped a short toss from first baseman Albert Pujols after a grounder by Yangervis Solarte in the third inning, but it didn't result in any runs.
"I'll be over it by tomorrow, but it's a tough one to swallow," said Richards, who came in with a 3-0 record and 0.80 ERA against National League clubs, spanning 14 appearances and seven starts.
Richards, who has yet to allow a first-inning run in eight starts, fell behind 1-0 in the second when Derek Norris doubled and scored from third on Will Middlebrooks' double into the left field corner. That ended a string of 25 consecutive scoreless innings by the right-hander during interleague play — the longest in Angels history.
After rookie Carlos Perez's infield hit tied the score in the bottom half, San Diego regained the lead in the fourth when Norris' got an infield hit and Middlebrooks drove his sixth homer into the left field bullpen on the first pitch. It was only the third home run given up by Richards in 52 innings this season, after he gave up five in 168 2-3 innings last year.
"He hung a slider," Middlebrooks said. "I ambushed the heater my first at-bat, and the next time up I just thought he might try to steal a strike with the breaking ball. And he just left it up for me."
Cashner (2-7) left it up to the bullpen to preserve the lead for him after he allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings, including Joyce's second homer of the season.
Twenty of the last 23 home runs Cashner has allowed have been solo shots. In fact, only one of the 42 homers against him in his big league career came with more than one man on base — a grand slam by Houston's Lance Berkman on July 27, 2010.
The right-hander, making his Angel Stadium debut, had received only three total runs of support in his previous six starts since beating the Chicago Cubs 5-2 on April 19.
"Cash has been pitching his butt off and we hadn't been scoring runs for him, so we really wanted to get a W for him tonight," Middlebrooks said.
Angels: RHP Cory Rasmus, recovering from abdominal surgery, is in the process of throwing simulated games in Arizona at the team's spring training facility. He might be able to begin a minor league rehab assignment within the next week. ... Manager Mike Scioscia said RHP Mike Morin's return from a left oblique strain will be a matter of weeks and not days. ... OF Collin Cowgill wasn't in the starting lineup for the fourth straight game because of an injured right hand.
Padres: RHP Ian Kennedy (2-4) will start the opener of a four-game series against Pittsburgh at Petco Park, as San Diego continues a stretch of 20 consecutive games in Southern California.
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