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3 keys in Angels' comeback victory

@RhettBollinger
June 11, 2019

ANAHEIM -- Rookie right-hander Griffin Canning laid the groundwork with a strong outing, Mike Trout tied it with a clutch two-run blast in the seventh and the Angels made the most of a wild eighth inning in a 5-3 win over the Dodgers on Monday in front of a festive

ANAHEIM -- Rookie right-hander Griffin Canning laid the groundwork with a strong outing, Mike Trout tied it with a clutch two-run blast in the seventh and the Angels made the most of a wild eighth inning in a 5-3 win over the Dodgers on Monday in front of a festive crowd of 45,477, which was the largest at Angel Stadium since it was renovated in 1998.

“It was a big win for us,” Trout said. “The atmosphere was unbelievable. That’s the best the atmosphere has been all year. Whenever we play the Dodgers here or in L.A. it’s just fun. The competition is real. It’s fun to be a part of.”

Here’s a look at the two-run eighth, Trout’s game-tying blast and Canning’s impressive effort in the victory:

Angels take the lead without a hit

The Angels scored twice in the eighth against Joe Kelly, who was erratic with three walks, two wild pitches and a throwing error to first base. Pinch-hitter Shohei Ohtani drew a four-pitch walk to open the inning and it was a sign of things to come.

After an error on a pickoff throw from Kelly, Ohtani went to second and Brian Goodwin was intentionally walked. Jonathan Lucroy then walked to load the bases with one out for Wilfredo Tovar. Tovar hit a slow grounder to third and Max Muncy threw home, but it was too late with Russell Martin jumping to catch the throw. After a review, the call on the field stood and Ohtani was safe at home.

“It's a tough play,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “Muncy fielded it at third and it was an off-balance throw and Russ had to go up to get it. Shohei can run. That's the best secret about him. He's an excellent runner. It looked like they got the call right.”

Just two pitchers later, Kelly threw his second wild pitch to allow a second run to score. It spoiled another strong showing from Dodgers lefty Hyun Jin-Ryu, who limited the Angels to one run over six innings with Kole Calhoun connecting on a solo shot in the second.

“It can't get any more bizarre," said Kelly, who has struggled in his first year with the Dodgers. "I guess that's average for right now."

Box score

Trout comes up huge

The Angels appeared headed toward a tough defeat despite Canning’s solid effort, but Trout changed it all with one swing with two outs in the seventh. Trout was 5-for-5 with two homers in his career against Ross Stripling, so the Dodgers brought in reliever Dylan Floro to face him. But it didn't stop Trout from jumping all over a 2-2 slider from Floro and crushing it a projected 402 feet to left to tie the game.

“I was trying to get a pitch I could hit and put the barrel to it, and it went out,” Trout said. “Obviously it was a big spot in the game.”

Canning passes stern test

Canning, making his eighth career start, was tasked with facing a division-leading team for the first time in his young career and gave up three runs on five hits over six innings with five strikeouts. Notably, he registered 18 swings and misses, which was the fourth-highest total against the high-powered Dodgers offense this year. Only Patrick Corbin, Noah Syndergaard and Robbie Ray induced more.

Canning, though, was hurt by a three-run second inning sparked by a one-out double from Corey Seager. With two outs, Canning threw a first-pitch strike to Martin but then hit him with a fastball to put two runners on. Chris Taylor made him pay with a two-run double to left and Kiké Hernandez followed with an RBI double that popped out of left fielder Cesar Puello’s glove as he hit the grass on his diving attempt.

“It wasn’t anything crazy,” Canning said. “Just a few bad pitches that they capitalized there. They’re a really good hitting team. They get paid a lot of money to hit mistakes, so they did that. Just stayed aggressive, didn’t want to back off and just stayed within myself.”

Canning settled down from there, retiring 10 of 11 before running into trouble again in the sixth after surrendering back-to-back singles to open the frame. This time, Canning escaped the jam, striking out Seager and getting Alex Verdugo to pop up before striking out Martin on a 95.6 mph fastball that was his second-hardest pitch of the night despite being his 88th and final offering.

“He was outstanding,” Ausmus said. “He continues to be unintimidated by big league lineups, including a very good Dodger lineup. He dug himself out of a little bit of a hole there in the sixth. If he doesn't dig out there, I'm don't know what happens in that game. I'm not sure we win it."

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.