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Dodgers Get Another One-Run Loss against the Angels
Unlike Tuesday night when the Dodgers rallied for four runs in the eighth inning to get the 5-2 victory, the Angels on Wednesday withstood the Dodger rally in the ninth inning getting the 2-1 win.
The Dodgers were not without their strokes of good fortune.
Moment of Fortune No. 1: With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning, Dodger starter Nathan Eovaldi looked to be in trouble giving up singles to Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick followed by a walk to Alberto Callaspo to load the bases with no out.
Out came pitching coach Rick Honeycutt to give Eovaldi a breather and to give him a reminder: "To focus on one pitch at a time to get the out," Eovaldi recalled.
It obviously worked since Erick Aybar grounded into your everyday 3-2-3 double play to keep the score tied.
"That was a huge play with A.J. Ellis and James Loney turning the double play," Eovaldi remarked. "The defense played well behind me and tried to keep us in the game for as long as possible."
For the next batter John Hester, it took a little more effort — six pitches to get Hester to whiff on a curveball in the dirt.
Moment of Fortune No. 2: In the sixth inning with the game still tied 1-1, Juan Rivera walked on four pitches with one out against Angel starter C.J. Wilson. Andre Ethier followed with a soft line drive to shortstop Aybar that had all the makings of a double play ball. After all Aybar snagged the ball in the air then let it drop, tagged second base and threw to first base.
However according to the official Major League Baseball rules Section 6.05(l), a batter is out when:
An infielder intentionally drops a fair fly ball or line drive, with first, first and second, first and third, or first, second and third base occupied before two are out. The ball is dead and runner or runners shall return to their original base or bases.
Second base umpire Sam Hollbrook called Ethier out on the line drive and sent Rivera back to first base. Instead of the inning-ending double play the Angels were hoping for, the Dodgers still had one more out to play with.
Jerry Hairston, Jr. and A.J. Ellis continued the rally with walks to load the bases with two outs.
Moment of Fortune No. 2 Wasted: James Loney hit a shallow fly ball to centerfield to end the inning.
Unlikely Angels: The heroes for the Angels weren't Albert Pujols or Mark Trumbo. Kendrys Morales didn't start coming off the bench in the ninth inning. Monday's hero Mike Trout didn't wear the halo especially after he got picked off in the first inning immediately after getting on base on Dee Gordon's error to lead off the game (although Trout did steal a base in the seventh inning with the game still tied.)
No, it was a pair of solo homers. The first was by Alberto Callaspo with only his third this season in the second inning that tied the game. Even more unlikely was the game winner.
Dodger closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning brought in the tied game despite it not being a save situation. Dodger Manager Don Mattingly felt that the intensity of the situation was similar.
"You can't give up a run there," Mattingly explained. "That's a high-intensity situation. If you give up a run, you're not going to win very many games. So that was, in a sense, a save situation."
Erick Aybar led off the inning, and on a 1-1 cutter deposited it into the right field pavilion.
"I've got to have a short memory," Jansen said. "Can't worry about it. Got to come back Friday and get the job done. That's all I'm worried about."
Time will tell whether that happens, although Mattingly still had confidence in Jansen.
"I think he's fine," Mattingly said. "Guys are going to give up some hits, and they're going to give up some runs now and then. They're not going to go out there and be perfect every time."
Again, time will tell.
The Final Push: Against Ernesto Frieri, the Dodgers led off the ninth inning with a walk by Ellis and a single by Loney to get the hopes of what remained of the 43,494 announced crowd at the park.
Juan Uribe grounded into a force play.
Tony Gwynn, Jr. struck out.
Bobby Abreu grounded back to the box.
The festivities started with the Kings bringing the Stanley Cup with all three teams taking a picture with it at the mound. And it ended in a whimper.
The Dodgers lose yet another series to the Angels and lose their second consecutive home series. But amazingly enough their 40-24 record gives them the best record in the Major Leagues.
Three Stars (as voted by me):
1. C.J. Wilson: 7 innings pitched, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 5 walks, 3 strikeouts.
2. Nathan Eovaldi: 6 innings pitched, 7 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 1 home run.
3. Alberto Callaspo: 2-for-3, 1 walk, 1 home run, 1 RBI.