The Dodgers beat the Angels, 7-5, to take the first game of the series and now the worst team in the history of baseball is now 21 games above .500. With the Giants loss to the Diamondbacks earlier today, the division lead is now 8.5 games.
In the fifth, after a Chase Utley single and Justin Turner double put runners on second and third, Mike Scioscia opted for a lefty to face Andre Ethier. Don Mattingly countered with pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano in a move that was sure to be complained about forever if it didn’t work, even though Ethier has proven over like a decade that he can’t hit lefties much less specialists. Fortunately then, to save us all, Ruggiano immediate ripped a two-run double to left, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately, Kole Calhoun followed with a two-run homer in the bottom of the frame to tie the game at three.
The Dodgers came right back and took a 4-3 lead on a Adrian Gonzalez sac fly in the sixth, before adding on two more in the top of seventh on what basically amounts to a SVS infield double, making it 6-3.
So over, right? No no no, it’s never REALLY over, is it?
See, starter Zack Greinke lasted just six innings and 89 pitches before he (likely) removed himself from the game, and though he struck out five and walked none, two of the seven hits he surrendered were homers and they accounted for all three runs against him. Thus, the game turned to the bullpen and into an adventure. In the bottom of the seventh, the Angels got two back via an Albert Pujols RBI single and a Jim Johnson wild pitch, cutting the lead to 6-5. The Dodgers used Luis Avilan, Juan Nicasio, J.P. Howell, and the aforementioned Johnson to secure the three outs, but not without a whole lot of excitement.
Of course, the inning could’ve been over sooner if this wasn’t called no swing.
On the plus side, SVS scored another run on a ball he chopped into the ground that bounced about 500 feet in the air for an infield single, making the score 7-5 and giving me the feeling of what it must be like to root for the Giants this decade.
Chris Hatcher, who is apparently now the setup man, pitched a scoreless eighth after walking the lead-off batter, and that set things up for Kenley Jansen. Jansen closed out the game relatively easily after a lead-off single, striking out Mike Trout and the doing this to Pujols.
Most importantly, I found Mattingly in a wig in the stands.
Corey Seager defense!