Scioscia runs out of magic vs. Dodgers
Crafty skipper escapes jam in ninth before 10th stings Halos
LOS ANGELES -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia kept digging into his bag of tricks on Saturday night, looking for a treat.What he found was all bitter, no sweet. A 5-4 loss to the Dodgers arrived in the 10th inning of a thriller in front of 55,301 at Dodger Stadium when Jose Arredondo walked Juan Pierre with the bases loaded and nobody out. Twice, in the ninth and again in the 10th, Scioscia -- who cut his teeth on the National League brand of baseball as a kid with the Dodgers -- went with a five-man infield when a fly ball would have won it for the Dodgers.
It didn't pay off in the end, when Arredondo walked Pierre on a full count, but it made for good theater."The primary thing is to defend what you can," Scioscia said. "A routine fly ball there is the game. We're trying to defend things we can defend. It's almost like in football when you go to the goal-line defense. You're not worried about the bomb. You're worried about one yard." Before the night ended with ball four to Pierre, there were developments both positive and discouraging for the Angels. Homers by Torii Hunter and Juan Rivera staked John Lackey to a lead, and the big right-hander responded with seven strong innings. He was long gone when Jonathan Broxton (5-0) claimed the win with two scoreless innings of relief, Arredondo (1-1) absorbing the loss. Southpaw Randy Wolf was touched for four earned runs in 6 1/3 innings for the Dodgers. Rivera tied the game with a solo homer in the fourth, his fourth, and Hunter's three-run blast to left, his 10th, handed Lackey a 4-1 lead in the fifth. In the big picture, Lackey's return to form, a sign that he's fully recovered from the right forearm strain that cost him five weeks, was vital. But Scot Shields had to leave in the ninth inning when he aggravated his left knee, which has been weakened this season by tendinitis. "That was about the end," Lackey said, referring to his 107 deliveries that left him with a 4-3 lead in the eighth. "I went to the edge. Going forward, that's a big step I needed to take. "The handcuffs are off. Now I just go." Shields, Lackey's buddy, let the lead escape in the eighth when James Loney doubled to left and scored on Casey Blake's one-out single to center. In the ninth, with Orlando Hudson on third after a two-base throwing error by Shields, Scioscia pulled Juan Rivera in from left field and had Maicer Izturis stationed on the left side of what was a five-man infield. Torii Hunter and Gary Matthews Jr. had the outfield to themselves. After Shields struck out Jamie Hoffmann, Izturis moved to third base, with Figgins taking left field. After a walk to Russell Martin and a game-saving stab by catcher Jeff Mathis on Shields' final pitch of the night, down and in on Loney, Arredondo came in to replace Shields and Reggie Willits was summoned to play left, returning Figgins to third base. "It was too many moves for one situation," Scioscia said, "but Scotty's knee wasn't worth taking the risk. It forced an extra move [to Willits] we didn't want to make." Arredondo struck out Loney, ending the inning -- and, temporarily, Scioscia's string of moves. In the 10th, after singles by Matt Kemp and Blake and a walk to Juan Castro when he was trying to bunt, Scioscia called in Hunter from center to join Howard Kendrick and Kendry Morales on the right side of the infield. The plan was for Arredondo to get his sinker or slider down and get a ground ball, but he went to 3-0 on Pierre and threw two strikes before missing with his final delivery. "Pierre made him work," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "The thing about Juan Pierre is it's great having him up there in those situations. He's been a leadoff hitter pretty much his whole life. "When Torii Hunter hits a three-run homer and you've got Lackey out there, that's a tall order. We kept coming at people. That's what this club's been doing." Scioscia's bullpen had been sturdy of late, but it didn't hold this time. "Jose just lost his release point," Scioscia said of Arredondo, who leads the American League in holds. As for Shields, Scioscia said the veteran right-hander was "having trouble getting out over his knee -- it just flared up on him again. We'll see how it feels tomorrow." The Angels placed starter Shane Loux on the 15-day disabled list after the game with shoulder tendinitis, recalling reliever Rafael Rodriguez from Triple-A Salt Lake.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.