06/25/10 3:30 AM ET
Halos miss out on Freeway Series sweep
Dodgers come out on top in unusual finale at Angel Stadium
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
The final 17 outs were recorded with a bank of lights down the right-field line almost entirely out."It felt like the Minor Leagues," the Angels' Torii Hunter said. "Or Texas. It always feels dark in that park for some reason. We kind of get spoiled with the bright lights." The victory salvaged some civic pride for the Dodgers in preventing their neighbors from sweeping the season series after taking the first five games -- including a distressing one-run loss on Wednesday night when the Dodgers self-destructed on the basepaths. "Either you sulk and whine and hang your head down or you battle through the tough times," Dodgers catcher Russell Martin said. "From what I remember, our character, we don't give in. We keep playing. It's a long season, lots of ups and downs, and character always stays. That's our key." Angels starter Scott Kazmir, who had allowed only six earned runs in his 23 previous innings while winning his previous four decisions, imploded during a five-run fourth inning, yielding four hits, a walk and a hit batsman. Drilling James Loney, a fellow Houston resident with whom he trains over the winter, was especially galling to Kazmir, coming on an 0-2 pitch after a leadoff single by Matt Kemp. "That really hurt, hitting Loney -- that and the two walks to Martin," Kazmir said, having slipped to 7-6. "You can't just let guys have free passes on the basepaths. You're just asking for not a good outcome." The big blow in the fourth was Rafael Furcal's two-run double after an infield hit by Reed Johnson plated the first run. The Angels got a break when Jamey Carroll wandered off second base after he'd been called safe on Andre Ethier's fielder's-choice grounder back to Kazmir. "I really felt like I had good stuff tonight," Kazmir said. "My slider was more effective than it's been all year. My fastball had good life, but it started to run away on me, and I had trouble keeping it in the strike zone." The Angels ran into two outs while taking a 1-0 lead in the first against knuckleballer Charlie Haeger. Bobby Abreu, who singled home Howard Kendrick after his leadoff single, was caught stealing, and so was Torii Hunter after a two-out double. "Full moon," Hunter said. "One of those nights." Mike Napoli's 12th homer, a towering shot to left-center, made it 5-2 in the fourth. The Angels added a pair of runs in the fifth, chasing Haeger when he was one out away from qualifying for his first win after four losses. Ramon Troncoso came on to give up RBI singles to Hunter and Hideki Matsui. Hunter, second in the American League with 23 RBIs in June, is batting .329 with runners in scoring position. Matsui raised his average to .304 in those clutch situations, with Kendrick leading the club at .346. Faulty baserunning cost the Angels in the sixth against Jeff Weaver when Brandon Wood, after singling, was trapped with runners on first and third with two away. The Dodgers erased Reggie Willits in a rundown between third and home to end the inning. "We didn't play well in a lot of areas," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We didn't pitch well, and we didn't play the kind of defense we need to play. Those guys beat us. We have to turn the page, clean up some stuff from tonight." Play was stopped with one away in the top of the seventh, resuming by mutual consent of the two clubs in concert with the umpires. "When we were out in the dugout it seemed darker," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said, "but when we were out in the middle of the field it was OK." There was one final Angels baserunning mishap. Trailing by four runs with one away in the ninth, Abreu was ruled out trying to advance to third with Matsui batting against Jonathan Broxton. Abreu had singled home Kevin Frandsen, whose double had delivered Kendrick following his leadoff single. Broxton was the third Dodgers pitcher of the inning and the seventh of the game, the win going to Weaver (4-1). Torre emptied his bullpen, saving only Ronald Belisario. After Scot Shields pitched effectively in relief of Kazmir, getting seven outs while yielding only one hit, the Dodgers scored twice against Francisco Rodriguez in the seventh and twice in the eighth against Trevor Bell. Manny Ramirez delivered RBI singles in each inning. Carroll and Casey Blake had three hits each for the Dodgers. The Angels are 20-8 since May 26, but they've fallen 4 1/2 games behind the raging Rangers in the AL West. Texas claimed its 11th consecutive win on Thursday, a 6-5 decision over the Pirates at home. The Rangers come to Angel Stadium for three games starting on Tuesday after the Angels wrap up Interleague Play with a weekend series against the visiting Rockies. The Angels are 9-6 against the National League, compared to Texas' 12-3 Interleague mark.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.