Angels beat Dodgers, 4-3, with two runs in ninth
It has been a spring training that has left the Freeway Series participants in search of an exit ramp.
The Angels are on their way to their first losing spring record since 2003, when they went on to finish 19 games back in the American League West.
The Dodgers’ sub-.500 record might be the least of their worries. There is owner Frank McCourt’s nasty divorce playing out in public and the apparent lack of a proven ace. But there was a sliver of satisfaction for the Angels on Friday night at Angel Stadium when they completed a two-run rally in the ninth inning and pulled out a 4-3 victory over their Southland rivals.
Even if the game was decided by players who will be in Salt Lake City and Albuquerque come Monday. With runners on first and third and two out, Dodgers shortstop Chin-lung Hu booted Hainley Statia’s routine grounder, allowing Peter Bourjos to trot home with the winning run.
“Our guys came up late in the game and did their jobs situationally, and that’s good to see,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said.
The rally started when Cory Aldridge led off the ninth with a triple to the wall in right-center field off Dodgers reliever Justin Miller. Bourjos drove in Aldridge with a double and advanced to third on Freddy Sandoval’s bunt single.
Robb Quinlan and Terry Evans, both fighting for roster spots, failed to deliver, with Quinlan striking out and Evans flying out to right field before Statia’s grounder.
The Dodgers appeared to be in position for a win after Reed Johnson homered in the second and broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth when he singled to center field, took third on Blake DeWitt’s hit-and-run single up the middle and scored on Rafael Furcal’s sacrifice fly.
Clayton Kershaw pitched four solid innings in his final spring tuneup, holding the Angels hitless until Torii Hunter’s solo homer with one out in the fourth. He allowed three hits and two runs, concluding a spring in which he went 2-0 with a 2.25 earned-run average.
Dodgers Manager Joe Torre tabbed Vicente Padilla as his opening-day starter, saying he wanted to put Kershaw in line for the home opener April 13 against Arizona. Kershaw also will pitch the second game of the season, Wednesday in Pittsburgh, and he said he’s ready for his season debut.
“Physically, I feel fine,” he said. “So as far as being in shape and my arm feeling ready and strong, I think I’m there.”
Kershaw looked worthy of the opening-day start in the early going Friday, allowing two runners — both on walks — before Hunter’s homer. Hideki Matsui followed with a bloop single to left-center, went to third on Kendry Morales’ double to right-center and scored on Juan Rivera’s sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers are headed for their third consecutive losing spring, leaving them to hope that their recent trend of rebounding in the regular season continues. The last three times the Dodgers failed to secure a winning record in the spring — in 2004, 2008 and 2009 — they advanced to the playoffs.
There was a buzz in the first inning when the crowd of 40,368 greeted former Angels outfielder Garret Anderson with a warm reception as he went to the plate. He went one for two with a double and a walk before he was removed for a pinch-runner in the fifth.