Kole fuels Angels' first Freeway Series sweep

July 25th, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- continued to torment the Dodgers on Wednesday, as the right fielder homered and doubled twice to lift the Angels to a 3-2 win at Dodger Stadium and a Freeway Series season sweep.

A night after Calhoun homered, doubled twice and threw out Cody Bellinger at home to end the game, Calhoun was at it again, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs to help the Angels earn some bragging rights, winning all four meetings this season. It’s only the second time a club has swept the Interleague Freeway Series, the Dodgers having gone 4-0 in the inaugural year of 1997.

"It's good," Calhoun said. "Today is another step in the right direction, especially against a team like that. It’s a great ballclub over there. We know that. It’s a great little rivalry over here. It’s definitely nice to sweep.”

Calhoun has historically fared well against the rival Dodgers and especially at Dodger Stadium. Calhoun has batted .302 (29-for-96) with nine homers, nine doubles and 14 RBIs in 28 games against the Dodgers since his debut with the Angels in 2012. And in 14 career games at Dodger Stadium, Calhoun has hit .375 (18-for-48) with six homers, six doubles and eight RBIs.

With six homers and five doubles over his last seven games against the Dodgers, he became the first player since Hall of Famer Willie Mays in 1958 to rack up 11 extra-base hits against the Dodgers in a seven-game span, according to Stats Inc. Additionally, Calhoun became the first player with three extra-base hits in back-to-back games against the Dodgers since Ernie Banks in 1963, according to Baseball-Reference's play index. He's also the only opponent to ever have three extra-base hits in consecutive games at Dodger Stadium, which opened in 1962.

“I like playing here,” Calhoun said. “It’s always a fun game to play in. I don’t know if it’s the atmosphere or the place. But it always seems like it’s a tight game and it’s a lot of fun to play in.”

The Angels got on the board early thanks to Calhoun, as he jumped all over a 2-1 changeup from Ross Stripling, pulling it just fair for a double down the right-field line in the first, scoring Mike Trout from first base.

Calhoun's homer came in the fourth, when Stripling threw a first-pitch fastball up in the zone and Calhoun pounced. Calhoun's 23rd homer of the year left the bat at 101.2 mph and went a projected 404 feet to right field, per Statcast.

Calhoun’s final hit was in the ninth, as he led off with a double into the right-field corner off closer Kenley Jansen. But Calhoun was stranded there with Kevan Smith striking out to end the inning.

“He’s done a lot of damage for us all year, extra-base hits, home runs, streaky at times,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “But when he gets hot, he’s a middle-of-the-order-type hitter like he was tonight. When he gets hot, he can help carry us a little bit.”

Calhoun has showed improved power this year, reaching 20 homers for the second time in his career. He's just three homers off his career-high 26 blasts, set in 2015. He's also already surpassed last year's doubles total with 20 and is on pace to reach 30 doubles for the third time in his career.

Calhoun could’ve been a trade candidate had the Angels fallen out of the race, but they moved to within four games of an American League Wild Card spot with the win and have the last-place Orioles and Tigers coming to town ahead of the July 31 Trade Deadline.

“The season is not done yet. There is still work to be done,” Calhoun said. “As a team, there are still things we want to do to consider ourselves successful. I haven’t even had a chance to sit down and look back and think of good and bad. It’s a daily grind. Tomorrow is another day.”