Bullpen falters as Dodgers drop Freeway finale

Bullpen falters as Dodgers drop Freeway finale

Bullpen falters as Dodgers drop Freeway finale
ANAHEIM -- The Angels have retained their mastery of Interleague Play, the Dodgers and bragging rights over the vast sprawl of Los Angeles and its environs.

A two-out, seventh-inning uprising against reliever Josh Lindbom that began with Albert Pujols' walk and included RBI singles by Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick lifted the Angels to a 5-3 decision on Sunday in front of 43,975, an Angel Stadium sellout.

The Angels' 11th win in their past 15 games enabled them to seize the Freeway Series from the Dodgers, four games to two, and keep alive of streak of not having surrendered a season series to their geographical rivals since 2006.

  • 142 wins
  • 110 wins

"It seems like wherever I've been, to be honest, I've had trouble with those guys," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who made his reputation as a Yankees star and then coached the Bronx Bombers before coming west. "They're a good club -- and they've had good clubs. They're aggressive; they come after you. We've got to get better."

The Angels took two of three in both ballparks from the Dodgers, who have dropped five of their past six games and have scored more than three runs only once in the past seven.

Veteran Aaron Harang and rookie Garrett Richards of the Angels dueled before it was decided by the bullpens.

Richards made it through 6 2/3 innings, Scott Downs retiring Andre Ethier -- who doubled twice -- to strand a runner in the seventh. Richards worked around nine hits, striking out five. Downs (1-0) picked up the win while Lindblom dropped to 2-2 with the loss. Ernesto Frieri racked up his ninth save.

Harang, pitching out of trouble in four of six innings, minimized damage while yielding eight hits. He turned it over to Lindblom, who was on the verge of blowing through the seventh when his control suddenly abandoned him. He hit Kendrys Morales with a pitch after walking Pujols, and Trumbo stroked his first pitch to left-center for the lead. Kendrick then banged a single to center for the insurance run.

"Basically, I beat myself," Lindblom said. "Pujols is not going to give in, but I hit Morales and it steamrolled from there. I'm just beating myself, that's the only thing."

Mattingly thought Harang was "really good" with the exception of a pitch Peter Bourjos launched for a tying two-run homer in the second after having a ground-rule double taken away on a ruling by an umpiring crew that upset players and managers all weekend.

"I didn't get a good look at it," Bourjos said of the ball down the right-field line that kicked up chalk. "I'm glad I didn't get the call. It worked out."

Harang was in the strike zone for six innings following an abysmal start in Oakland in which he issued eight walks in 3 2/3 innings.

"There were still times I felt a little off," Harang said, "but I was able to keep the ball down in the zone and execute pitches -- other than the slider to Bourjos that stayed in the middle of the plate. If I throw him the same pitch I threw to Albert later in the inning, I'd get the same outcome as I did with Albert [flyout to right]. I just look at it as one mistake to Bourjos. But I kept us in the game."

Bourjos' second homer, following an Erick Aybar walk, got the Angels even after the Dodgers had scored solo runs in the first two innings.

Ethier's two-out hustle double to left and Bobby Abreu's single through the middle gave Harang the lead in the first. Singles by Adam Kennedy and Tony Gwynn, a sacrifice by Matt Treanor and Dee Gordon's run-scoring infield out made it 2-0.

"Our at-bats were good the whole series," Mattingly said. "I have no problem with our approach. This is what we basically do. We got a key hit in the first inning with Bobby, and we move a runner [in the sixth] for a run to tie it up. That's kind of what we are."

That will change, presumably and hopefully, after the All-Star break when Matt Kemp returns, left hamstring healed, to produce some serious juice in the heart of the order.

Mike Trout singled for the second time leading off the home fifth and stole his American League-leading 21st base. Pujols' single through the middle brought Trout home for a 3-2 lead.

Rivera's double to center leading off the sixth was cashed in on Loney's lineout, advancing Rivera, and Kennedy's sacrifice fly.

Since manager Mike Scioscia's arrival in 2000, his Angels are 49-29 against the Dodgers, the club he led as a catcher. The Angels' 74-34 Interleague record since 2007 is the Majors' best, and they've won 14 of their past 15 Interleague sets.

Since the advent of Interleague Play, the Dodgers are 38-54 against the Angels and 16-30 at Angel Stadium.

The Dodgers open a compelling three-game series on Monday night in San Francisco against the Giants, who are three games behind them in the National League West.

"It's way too early to think it's going to be a monumental series," Mattingly said when asked about the magnitude of the Giants series. "If we're going to be in this thing, we're going to be playing to where that last week counts. We need to get ready to play [Monday] and play our best baseball."

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.