Angels stave off Dodgers in Freeway opener

May 17th, 2016

LOS ANGELES -- Mike Trout and Albert Pujols combined for five hits and five RBIs as the Angels got production from up and down the lineup in a 7-6 victory over the Dodgers to open the Freeway Series on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Only Daniel Nava, who left the game in the fifth, and Matt Shoemaker, the starting pitcher, failed to register either a run or RBI for the Angels, as a litany of singles and walks wore down the Dodgers.

"We're starting to swing the bats, which is a good sign," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, whose club has won four straight after losing six in a row. "Our bullpen is exhausted. Our rotation needs to get deeper into games, and when that starts happening, we continue to swing the bats, we'll get our bullpen in shape and put up wins."

The Angels had five straight reach base during a four-run third, and that played a big part in forcing out Dodgers rookie Kenta Maeda after four innings, the shortest start of his Major League career.

"I haven't been able to execute my plan," Maeda said through an interpreter. "During the good times, I'm a little more careful. Even with runners on base, I've been able to get out of jams. But in a lot of situations these days, that hasn't been the case."

Another rally in the seventh against Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez gave the Angels three more runs and enough cushion to survive Trayce Thompson's second home run of the game, which made it 7-6 in the eighth. After Fernando Salas came on in the ninth and worked a perfect inning, Shoemaker got the win with a five-inning, three-run outing to snap a streak of four straight losses.


Offensive surge: The Angels have scored 36 runs over their last five games, after totaling only 24 runs in their previous eight. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, they rallied in the ninth inning, with two of those surges resulting in victories. On Monday, they went 6-for-16 with runners in scoring position and totaled 12 hits, with Trout, Pujols, Yunel Escobar and Carlos Perez registering multi-hit games.

"Every team goes through it," Trout said, referring to the Angels' early-season struggles. "We just went through it early in the season. We just turned the page, and it's fun." More >

Thompson strikes twice: Thompson entered Monday's game slugging .783 in May and still managed to improve that mark with his first career multi-homer game. Both big flies were 100-plus-mph rockets to left field and gave Thompson five home runs on the month, despite only seven starts and 27 plate appearances in that span.

"Trayce is doing a lot of good things," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He definitely deserves a little more playing time. I know what kind of player he is. He's got a bright future. This game is performance-based, so there's definitely more playing time for Trayce." More >

Turning a corner: Shoemaker wasn't dominant by any means, but he took a step forward after giving up 18 runs (17 earned) in 9 1/3 innings over his previous three starts. The Angels -- decimated by injuries throughout their rotation -- recently went on a 14-game run in which a starting pitcher completed six innings only one time. But they got seven innings of two-run ball from Jhoulys Chacin on Saturday, eight scoreless innings from Hector Santiago on Sunday and five innings of three-run ball from Shoemaker on Monday.

"That's what we need to do: Feed off each other like that in the rotation," Shoemaker said. "You go out there and you're like, 'Look what Hector did yesterday.' Stuff like that. As a rotation you need that, because then you're like, 'I'm going to go out and do that. I'm going to give this team a chance to win.' And the position players picked me up today. That's what we need as a team. I definitely see that happening."

Kenta comes through: Maeda didn't have his best night on the mound, but he did get his second career RBI in the second inning. After a pair of walks and a Carl Crawford single to left got the Dodgers on the board, Maeda dropped another line drive into left and gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. It was his first hit since homering in his Major League debut.


"I'm certain that he and [catcher Yasmani Grandal] were in sync. I don't know if the stepping off and the walking around the mound, if he was uncertain how to attack hitters. I know Pedro is right when he's in some type of rhythm and attacking hitters, that's when he's at his best." -- Roberts, on Baez's notably slow pace between pitches in the seventh inning


The Dodgers took the field before the sixth inning without first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, moving Howie Kendrick over from third base and bringing Justin Turner off the bench to play third. Gonzalez was later announced to have left the game with lower back tightness. More >

Nava departed with a left groin strain after flying out to deep center field in the fifth. Nava, who was replaced in left field by Shane Robinson, recently spent three weeks on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left knee. He will undergo an MRI exam on Tuesday. More >


The Angels used a replay challenge to overturn an out call on Pujols, who was deemed by umpires to have left first base early while tagging up on a sacrifice fly. Pujols went to second on a wild throw home from Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, who caught Johnny Giavotella's sac fly and was trying to nail Trout at home plate.


Angels:Jered Weaver takes the ball in the second of this four-game Freeway Series on Tuesday, with game time set for 7:10 p.m. PT. Weaver has an 8.57 ERA over his last four starts, but has always pitched well at Dodger Stadium, carrying a 1.53 ERA in 29 1/3 innings.

Dodgers:Clayton Kershaw will enter Tuesday's matchup with the Angels at Dodger Stadium on a historic streak, with at least 10 strikeouts and one or fewer walks in his last five starts. He's also had two shutouts in his last three starts.

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