Just as they were taking control of the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels may have suffered a dramatic blow to their pitching staff Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
Angels pitcher Garrett Richards was taken off the field on a stretcher in the second inning of the game against the Red Sox after injuring his left knee running to cover first base on a ground ball by Brock Holt.
Racing to cover the bag in hopes of turning a double play, Richards appeared to trip, tumbling slightly backward, and as he tried to gain his balance, his left knee buckled under him. The Angels said he sustained a patellar injury but didn’t disclose the extent.
‘‘Winning the game, obviously, it’s always important, but it’s secondary to what happened,’’ Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after the Angels’ 8-3 win. ‘‘This is a tough night for us. We’ll just see where Garrett is. Obviously, it’s a significant injury.’’
Richards stayed on the ground for a long stretch while trainers came to his attention. Teammates surrounded him, including Albert Pujols, who kneeled in front of Richards until the stretcher came.
Richards has been one of the Angels’ best pitchers this season, going 13-4 with 164 strikeouts. He was first in the majors with a .195 batting average against.
In his last start against the Sox Aug. 9, he was dominant, taking a no-hitter into the seventh before giving up three hits and one run.
He gave up two runs on five hits on Wednesday before suffering the injury.
‘‘I had a chance to talk to him,’’ Angels pitcher Jered Weaver said. ‘‘He just wanted to know what the story was. He wasn’t feeling too much pain when he was on the table. When the doctor came in and told him that he might have done something to his patellar tendon and there might be surgery involved, he kind of lost it.’’