When a team is on a roll, good things just seem to happen. Calls go its way, soft hits fall in beyond infielders’ reach and line drives find the gaps.
Or in the case of the Dodgers on Monday night, comebackers to the pitcher deflect off an outstretched glove and ricochet past the charging shortstop only to come to a stop on the grass just beyond the infield for ... a two-run double.
Scott Van Slyke hit that ball in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium, and the Dodgers were just fine with it, the runs helping them to a 7-5 victory over the Angels.
The Dodgers are absolutely rolling now, one way or another. The victory was their 12th in their last 14 games and it pushed their suddenly mushrooming lead in the National League West to a season-high 8 1/2 games over the shrinking Giants.
Van Slyke liked the bizarre hit routine so much, in the eighth inning he bounced a hit in front of the plate that took one hop into the heavens. By the time it finally landed on the infield grass, the Angels had no play and another run scored.
Van Slyke ended up with a career-high four hits. They all count the same in the hit column. And he drove in four runs.
Zack Greinke started, and though he didn’t exactly have his best game, it was good enough to earn him the win and raise his record to 16-3. He gave up three runs in his six innings, which actually raised his earned-run average from 1.59 to 1.68. No other starting pitcher in baseball has an ERA under 2.00.
This being Labor Day and all, the teams combined to use 16 pitchers in a nine-inning game, and to have seemingly 232 coaching visits to the mound. Kenley Jansen came on in the ninth inning -- the game’s 40th player of 41 used -- to get the final three outs and record his 30th save of the season.
The Dodgers had 16 hits -- five for doubles -- including the first three-hit game from Joc Pederson since July 25. Justin Ruggiano had a pinch-hit two-run double. Phenom shortstop Corey Seager went one for three, walked twice, scored two runs and made two nice defensive plays. Chase Utley and Justin Turner each had two hits.
The Angels had 11 hits, but Mike Trout went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts for the first time in his career.