Dan Haren mystifies Angels in Dodgers' 2-1 win

Enlighten us. Your explanation will be as good as anyone's.

The stars aligned, the body snatchers have returned, a blind squirrel, mirrors, Jobu was offered a cigar and rum.


Something strange and wonderful happened to Dan Haren on Wednesday night, something about as expected as discovering a pot of gold in the backyard.

Haren had been one lost-looking pitcher for weeks. He had gone 0-5 with a 10.03 earned-run average and a 1.93 WHIP in his last five games. His spot in the rotation had become, at best, precarious. Some figured one more outing and he would be replaced by somebody.

Haren on Wednesday looked like someone who very much wants to stay in the rotation, retiring the first 16 consecutive Angels and pitching the Dodgers to a 2-1 victory before a crowd of 43,669 at Angel Stadium.

Haren went 7 1/3 rather remarkable innings, holding the Angels to a mere three  singles. He looked like a completely different pitcher than the one the Dodgers have been watching since the middle of May (3-8, 6.04 ERA).

He left the game with a runner on first, and the bullpen allowed him to score, so he was charged with one run on the three hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out four.

He was sharp and precise, and looking very much at home in the ballpark he pitched in for the Angels for parts of three seasons, and pitched rather well (3.25 ERA in 45 games).

And for the first time in their three games against the Angels, it was the Dodgers who struck first.

Matt Kemp worked the count full to lead off the second and then drilled a home run  to left-center.

For Kemp, it was a continuation of his recent power display. He now has six home runs in his last nine games.

The Dodgers continued to apply the pressure against Angels starter Matt Shoemaker in the second. Carl Crawford was safe on an infield single that Howie Kendrick momentarily bobbled. He stole second and then scored on a double by Andre Ethier. It was Ethier's first hit and RBI since July 22.

The Dodgers ended up loading the bases with two outs, but Adrian Gonzalez bounced out to second.

Then everything got real quiet.

Shoemaker regained command, and if he allowed a few hits, the Dodgers could not cash in on any attack. Meanwhile, the Angels -- the second-highest-scoring team in the majors -- went down almost eerily quietly against Haren (9-9).

Hank Conger ended Haren's perfect game with his one-out single in the sixth. When John McDonald followed with a single to Yasiel Puig in center, Conger made the mistake of trying to take third. Another laser throw by Puig threw him out.


Haren retired the Angels in order in the seventh and then Erick Aybar led off the eighth with a bunt single. Haren got one out before turning the game over to the bullpen. J.P. Howell gave up a single to C.J. Cron that moved Aybar to third. He scored when Chris Iannetta hit a sacrifice fly off Brandon Leauge.

Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 32nd save and maintain the Dodgers' 2 1/2-game lead in the National League West.