ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Good pitching always beats good hitting.
Thursday's game between Detroit and Los Angeles was billed as a premier pitching matchup between two 11-game winners -- the Angels' Garrett Richards and the Tigers' Max Scherzer.
However, the Angels and Tigers also happen to be two of the best-hitting teams in the American League.
In the end, it was third baseman Nick Castellanos' two-run double in the sixth inning that gave the Tigers the lead for good in a 6-4 victory.
The Tigers began the night ranked first in the league in batting average, hits, total bases, doubles, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. The Angels were first in runs and RBIs, and second in average, hits, total bases, doubles and on-base percentage.
When push came to shove, it was the Tigers hitters who did a better job of exploiting the opposing pitcher's mistakes to come away with a win.
"I cannot say he was hittable," Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter said of Richards. "It was not fun. He made some mistakes, and we live off mistakes. We don't live off pitchers' pitches. He made a couple mistakes, he hung a slider or curveball to me and I was able to capitalize on it. Other than that, Garrett was filthy."
Hunter's RBI double off Richards in the sixth inning cut the Angels' lead to 3-2. Castellanos followed with his two-run double to put Detroit up 4-3, and the Tigers held the lead the rest of the way.
Scherzer was perfect through three innings and worked himself out of a jam in the fourth before the Angels got to him in the fifth. Los Angeles collected four hits in the inning, including an RBI infield single by designated hitter C.J. Cron and a two-run single by right fielder Kole Calhoun to establish a 3-1 lead.
"They were able to get to me there, they put together some really good at-bats against me," Scherzer said. "They grind each at-bat, foul pitches off and were able to capitalize on some mistakes. I made some good pitches, and they were able to put the ball in play. They got some hits that way to keep the inning going."
Scherzer had just the one bad inning. Outside of that, he retired the side in order five times and kept the Angels from mounting any serious scoring threats.
Scherzer (12-3) gave up three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out 11 in seven innings. He moved into a tie for the major league lead with 12 wins.
"I thought against Scherzer we did a good job," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He struck out 11, but for the most part we executed well, moved runners over. Kole had the big hit to give us a lead in the fifth, and we had other opportunities."
The three-run sixth spelled the end for Richards, who gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks. It marked only the fourth time in his 21 starts he allowed more than three runs in a game, and the first time since May 30.
"I think some things might have caught up to him," Scioscia said of Richards (11-3). "His command was a little bit off early, but his velocity was good and his movement was terrific. His slider was there, but he got some pitches in some zones where those guys caught up to them."
The Tigers added single runs off the Angels' bullpen in the seventh and eighth innings to give themselves a cushion. The Angels scored once in the eighth against Tigers reliever Joba Chamberlain to narrow their deficit to 6-4, but Joe Nathan struck out the side in the ninth for his 21st save.
With the win, the Tigers increased their American League Central lead to seven games, with the Kansas City Royals now in second place ahead of the Cleveland Indians. The Angels fell three games behind the Oakland A's in the AL West.
NOTES: The Angels reached 60 wins in their first 100 games for the sixth time in franchise history. Three of the previous five times, they reached the playoffs. ... Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera led the majors hitting with runners in scoring position through Wednesday, batting .385 (35-for-91) in those situations. He went 0-for-2 with RBI chances Thursday. ... Angels CF Mike Trout led the majors with 58 extra-base hits and 226 total bases entering play Thursday. He went 1-for-4 with a double in the series opener against Detroit. ... Tigers CF Austin Jackson is hitting .383 (31-for-81) with 18 runs, 10 doubles, two triples, one homer and 10 RBIs since July 2.