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Ellis hits first-inning slam as Dodgers top Halos

LOS ANGELES -- In their first game in the newly renovated Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers beat the Angels, 9-8, on Friday night in the second of a three-game Freeway Series.

The Dodgers got off to a fast start and scored five runs in the first inning. Carl Crawford led off with a single and scored on a double by Matt Kemp. A.J. Ellis belted a grand slam to center field, the catcher's first homer of Spring Training. Luis Cruz drove in two runs with a double in the second, and Adrian Gonzalez added an RBI as the Dodgers assumed an early 8-3 lead.

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The Angels countered by scoring in each of the first four innings.

Mike Trout hit a three-run homer in the fourth to cut the Dodgers' lead to 8-7. Last year's American League Rookie of the Year also singled in his first at-bat, stole second and scored on a single by Albert Pujols in the first inning.

Josh Hamilton went 1-for-4 with an RBI for the Angels. Pujols finished with two singles. After being held to only two hits in Thursday's 3-0 defeat, the Angels combined for 12 hits Friday.

"This was like an exact opposite of last night's game," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

Angels starter Jason Vargas struggled in his final outing of Spring Training. The left-hander gave up eight runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings. Vargas faced 14 batters and threw 60 pitches.

"With Jason, he didn't get a chance to get command of counts," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't know if he was just missing or what, but he was behind a lot. Some fastballs got thigh high and those guys hit 'em. It's not what you're looking for in a tuneup start getting ready for the season, but he'd been throwing the ball well."

Starter Josh Beckett went four innings for the Dodgers, allowing seven runs on nine hits. He struck out five and walked none on 80 pitches. Beckett is scheduled to start Wednesday against the Giants in the third game of the regular season.

Beckett was able to get ahead in most counts, but the Angels had several key hits with two strikes to prevent the right-hander from cruising through his final exhibition outing.

"I don't know if I'm trying to get extra [stuff] on the two-strike pitches and am giving up location," Beckett said. "You just have to put guys away. I just couldn't put anybody away."

Both clubs will wrap up their camps with Saturday's series finale in Anaheim.

Up next: The Dodgers conclude Spring Training with Zack Greinke taking the mound in Anaheim Saturday in the finale of a three-game Freeway Series against the Angels at 6:05 p.m. PT. Greinke will make his fourth start of the spring after being limited by elbow tenderness and the flu. Right-hander Tommy Hanson will start for the Angels. The Dodgers still have some roster spots to finalize and will likely give Justin Sellers another start at shortstop to see if he can be a viable temporary replacement for the injured Hanley Ramirez.

Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for

Los Angeles Dodgers, A.J. Ellis