Pederson, Trout, Pujols lead hit parade in tie

March 9th, 2016

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Joc Pederson hit a leadoff homer, Mike Trout reached base three times and both starting pitchers struggled before the Angels rallied in the ninth at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Wednesday, an eventual 13-13 tie between the Dodgers and the rival Angels.

Scott Kazmir and Jered Weaver, ex-teammates with the Angels, were each charged with five earned runs, with Kazmir recording only five outs and Weaver recording just eight.

Kazmir -- signed to a three-year, $48 million contract over the offseason -- needed 36 pitches to escape a three-run first inning and wound up allowing eight baserunners, though only one reached on an extra-base hit. Afterward, the 32-year-old left-hander nonetheless said he felt "great."

Kazmir threw first-pitch strikes to each of the 13 batters he faced.

"I honestly think I'm on the right path," he said. "If you look at the game and not the box score, it tells a different story."

For Weaver, the story mainly came from the radar gun.

The 33-year-old right-hander spent the offseason rededicating himself to a strict stretching regimen partly so he could rekindle some of the life on his fastball. But Weaver's fastball topped out at only 81 mph, two or three ticks slower than his average from last season, and he paid a heavy price.

Weaver -- entering the last season of his five-year extension -- served up a home run to Pederson on the second pitch of the game, then a long solo shot to Austin Barnes in the second inning and a two-run shot to Scott Van Slyke in the third. He also gave up three other hits and got a fly-ball out to the left-field warning track.

"I wake up every day hoping this is the day that it's going to click," Weaver said. "It just hasn't happened yet. I just have to keep grinding."

Pederson showed real signs of life Wednesday, slugging his first home run of the spring, adding a single and scoring twice.

"I've talked to people and I've talked to Joc, and in the second half last year, there was a lot of noise, exterior things, and the game sped up," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "Now we're trying to give him clarity. The last couple of times he seems much more comfortable."

Pederson came into the game with five strikeouts in seven at-bats.

"Everyone was talking to him last year," said Roberts. "Now with [batting coaches] Turner [Ward] and Tim [Hyers], we're on the same page. We're on the right track with Joc." 

Trout hit a double and a triple, drew a walk and scored three runs. The 24-year-old center fielder has now been on base in 10 of his 14 Cactus League plate appearances. Albert Pujols, starting his third game at designated hitter, added two RBI singles and Daniel Nava went 2-for-3, putting his Cactus League batting average at .615.

Van Slyke, Cody Bellinger and Elian Herrera each had two hits for the Dodgers, with Andre Ethier and Adrian Gonzalez adding two-out RBI singles.

The Dodgers tied the game with a three-run sixth inning -- all charged, though unearned, to Angels bullpen hopeful Al Alburquerque -- and broke the game open with a four-run seventh. Barnes and Pederson each registered RBI singles for their third hit in that seventh inning.

Up next for Dodgers:Kenta Maeda makes his second Cactus League start for the Dodgers on Thursday against the A's and starter Rich Hill in Mesa. Throughout Spring Training, the Dodgers will be watching to see how Maeda adapts to the five-day pitching cycle in the Major Leagues compared to the six- and seven-day cycles he knew in Japan. Alex Guerrero also might return to the lineup as designated hitter after missing four games with a tender knee.

Up next for Angels:Andrew Heaney makes his Cactus League debut when the Angels host the D-backs at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Thursday, with game time set for 12:10 p.m. PT. Heaney, who will oppose right-hander Shelby Miller, was scratched from his first start five days earlier due to illness, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the lefty still has plenty of time to be ready for the start of the season.

Watch the action live on MLB.TV.