The Angels huddled around first base Wednesday night as medical personnel tended to Garrett Richards, who lay on his back, writhing in so much pain that first baseman Albert Pujols, on one knee, held the pitcher's hand to comfort him.

Richards, the hard-throwing right-hander who has emerged as one of baseball's best pitchers in his first full season as a starter, suffered what Manager Mike Scioscia called a "significant" left knee injury while covering first base on a potential double-play grounder in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Richards spent eight minutes on the ground before being wheeled out on a stretcher. His 2014 season appears finished, and he will likely need surgery on the patellar tendon, a procedure that would require at least a six-month recovery.

No doubt, fans and followers of this star-crossed franchise were wondering: Did the team's World Series hopes get carted off with Richards?

"To have something like that happen is a crushing blow to any team," Angels right-hander Jered Weaver said. "I heard him screaming down there, so you knew something wasn't right. It doesn't look too good for him. He's been our guy all year, one you could count on to get deep into games and pull out a victory."

The Angels showed the kind of resiliency it will take to overcome Richards' loss, overcoming a three-run deficit and leaning heavily on their bullpen in an 8-3 victory over the Red Sox, their seventh victory in eight games.

The Angels (75-50) have the majors' best record and a 11/2-game lead over Oakland on the eve of their American League West showdown with the Athletics this weekend.

But their pennant hopes, and their ability to match up with the league's most dominant pitchers in the playoffs, were dealt a serious blow when Richards, whose mixes a 96-mph fastball with a devastating slider and curve, crumpled to the ground.