Advertisement

Angels Go Three for Four

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Glenn Hoffman has managed four games since succeeding Bill Russell at the Dodgers’ helm.

And Hoffman is quickly learning what Russell already knew: Life with this bunch isn’t easy.

The Angels made the Dodgers’ tumultuous season tougher Thursday night in a 3-2 interleague victory before 38,254 at Dodger Stadium.

Angel starter Steve Sparks (3-0) pitched seven strong innings, and catcher Phil Nevin broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth with a two-out, two-run double. The Dodgers scored a run in the ninth on an error and loaded the bases against Angel closer Troy Percival, but Percival nailed down his 24th save when Wilton Guerrero struck out.

Advertisement

The victory was the third in the four-game series for the American League West-leading Angels, who equaled their franchise record for victories in a month with 20.

The Angels (47-30) are 20-4 in June, which is only 17 victories less than the Dodgers have this season. The Dodgers have lost five of their last six games, and dropped four games under .500 at 37-41.

Hoffman is 1-3 in his new job, and things could be better.

“We know that we have a lot of work to do,” Hoffman said. “We’re not where we want to be right now, but we’re getting the right people in place and we’re moving forward. The talent is here on this team, we just have to stay positive and hope we get some breaks.”

Advertisement

The Dodgers got a break in the ninth when Raul Mondesi, who opened the inning with a double, scored from second base as Jim Edmonds dropped Adrian Beltre’s fly ball when Garret Anderson ran into him.

After consecutive walks to Jim Eisenreich and Eric Young loaded the bases, Guerrero struck out to end the game. And the Dodgers and Angels continued to move in opposite directions.

“What they’re doing is very impressive,” Dodger first baseman Eric Karros said. “They’re getting contributions from everyone, and they’re making the most of all their opportunities.

“And it seems like it’s not just one guy, there are a lot of guys who have stepped up for them. That’s the way it seemed against us, anyway.”

Advertisement

Young agreed.

“You look at what they’re doing over there, and you see a team getting a lot of breaks,” the Dodger second baseman said. “But the main thing is they’re making their own breaks, and that’s what you have to do to win.”

Sparked by Young, the Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first. He singled to center and stole second, his National League-leading 30th stolen base, and scored from third on Gary Sheffield’s groundout.

And that’s all Sparks would give up. The knuckleball pitcher was outstanding in his third consecutive start since being recalled from triple-A Vancouver.

Advertisement

He gave up four hits and one run in seven innings. Sparks struck out four and walked three while throwing 113 pitches, 65 for strikes.

Dennis Reyes (0-4) was making his second start after assuming Ramon Martinez’s former spot in the Dodger rotation.

Martinez is sidelined for the remainder of the season because of damage to his throwing shoulder, and Reyes is the guy on the spot.

He struggled against the Colorado Rockies in a 7-6 loss Saturday, but Reyes performed better for his new manager.

Advertisement

He gave up two hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings, and retired the side in order in the first, fourth and fifth. The Dodgers turned a double play behind Reyes in the second, and he faced only one batter over the minimum through five.

Reyes walked four and struck out a career-high seven.

But Reyes struggled in the sixth. After Gary DiSarcina struck out to open the inning, Sparks walked.

Darin Erstad doubled to put runners on second and third, and Dave Hollins struck out swinging for the second out. But Edmonds walked to load the bases, and Sparks was forced in when Fielder walked, which chased Reyes.

Advertisement

Enter Greg McMichael. The right-hander hasn’t been sharp recently, entering the game with a 7.71 earned-run average in his last four outings.

On a 3-and-1 count, Nevin drove in two runs with a ground-rule double into the left-field corner, giving the Angels their third and last hit and the lead for good.


Advertisement
Advertisement