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Nolasco finds groove in first win since April

Angels starter shuts out Dodgers over 6 1/3 innings
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- At long last, Ricky Nolasco was on the right end of the result.

The 34-year-old right-hander captured his third win of the season, vaulting the Angels to a 4-0 victory over the Dodgers in Monday night's Freeway Series opener. Nolasco spun 6 1/3 innings, shutting out a Dodgers' offense on five hits, two walks and five strikeouts.

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LOS ANGELES -- At long last, Ricky Nolasco was on the right end of the result.

The 34-year-old right-hander captured his third win of the season, vaulting the Angels to a 4-0 victory over the Dodgers in Monday night's Freeway Series opener. Nolasco spun 6 1/3 innings, shutting out a Dodgers' offense on five hits, two walks and five strikeouts.

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"As the game went on, he really found his command," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "That's a strong 6 1/3 against a team that's been swinging the bats well, so that's a good game for Ricky."

Video: LAA@LAD: Nolasco strikes out five in scoreless start

The decision marked Nolasco's first win since April 27 against Oakland. The Angels had lost in each of his previous 10 starts, and Nolasco had taken seven straight losing decisions.

"Had a nice little streak going there," Nolasco joked, "but I've been feeling good during whatever games I've been losing. I just tried to carry that over to tonight and make some pitches."

The Dodgers entered Monday averaging 7.9 runs per game during their 10-game winning streak, and had homered in 17 straight games, a stretch tied for the longest in club history. Nolasco, who had permitted a Major League-high 23 home runs, didn't concede a long ball for the fourth time in 16 starts this year.

After his seventh quality start of the season, Nolasco said his approach hadn't altered from his previous outings.

"You've still got to go out there and make quality pitches and get people out," he said.

His dominance was established early in the contest, specifically when Nolasco held tough against Joc Pederson with the bases loaded in the top of the first in a scoreless game. Nolasco hurled a 93.5-mph four-seamer for the first strike, before zipping sliders at 82.6 mph and 79.6 mph by Pederson for his first strikeout of the contest, ending the inning and extinguishing the scoring chance.

"I just wasn't trying to give in there too early to two guys that were hot," said Nolasco, "so I had to make a pitch there."

Nolasco produced his first scoreless outing since 2016, when he shut out the Astros across seven innings in a 2-0 win on Sept. 22.

The shutout only came in jeopardy again during the bottom of the seventh, when Nolasco exited the contest after allowing a Yasiel Puig single and a Enrique Hernandez double that ricocheted off his left shin. However, with runners on second and third with one out, reliever Cam Bedrosian struck out Mike Freeman and Chase Utley to get out of the jam, and keep Nolasco's gem intact.

"That was huge," Nolasco said of the effort. "For Cam to come in there and strike out those two guys in that situation was huge. I think it really set the game there."

Video: LAA@LAD: Bedrosian K's Utley to escape trouble

"We were just coming in there to help the starter out," Bedrosian said. "To be able to help him out in that situation for me, and for the team to pick him up, getting a win for Ricky is really big."

Relievers Keynan Middleton and David Hernandez then secured the victory for Nolasco, who said he'll be fine despite the shin injury. Scioscia said Nolasco's performance was reminiscent of the form he had found when he won three straight games at the end of last season.

"We need him," Scioscia said of Nolasco. "We need what he can do. We need him pitching deep in games and giving us a chance to win."

Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com. He covered the Angels on Monday.

Los Angeles Angels, Ricky Nolasco