ANAHEIM -- In a city in which they rarely win, starting a pitcher who hadn't gotten many people out for more than a month, playing a team with the best home record in baseball, the Dodgers pulled out a 2-1 victory over the Angels on Wednesday night in Anaheim.
Dan Haren, who was 0-5 with a 10.03 ERA in his last five starts, and who had recorded only one out in the sixth inning during that span, was magnificent against the Halos.
Haren appeared to use a much slower, or perhaps a more deliberate delivery on Wednesday and he kept the Angels off balance all night. He retired the first 16 batters of the game until Hank Conger broke up the perfect game with a single to left with one out in the sixth.
Down 2-0, the Angels were suddenly back in the game, and their rally appeared to grow stronger when pinch hitter David Freese singled to center, but Conger unwisely decided to test the arm of center fielder Yasiel Puig, who threw him out at third base.
A soft liner to Adrian Gonzalez ended the inning and the threat, and gave Haren his best start in over five weeks. But it wasn't over.
Still with just a two-run lead Haren had to get through the heart of the Halos order in the seventh - Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. And he did, with ease on just eight pitches. Those three were a combined 0-for-9 against Haren on the night, with only two balls hit to the outfield.
Haren allowed a bunt single to open the eighth but left after 7⅓ innings, matching his longest outing of the season. It was exactly what the Dodgers needed from the bottom of their rotation at a truly desperate time.
The run actually scored thanks to a single off J.P. Howell and a sacrifice fly against Brandon League, but the lead was preserved through eight, leaving the door open for Kenley Jansen's second appearance in as many nights.
Jansen allowed a single to Kole Calhoun, who then stole second. Jansen fell behind 3-0 to Trout, but recovered to strike him out, then got Pujols to fly out to center, and struck out Hamilton to end the game.
Matt Kemp opened the scoring in the second inning with a pulled home run to left field, a solo shot to put the Dodgers up 1-0. The home run was the sixth for Kemp in the last nine games and pulled him to within one of Adrian Gonzalez for the team lead.
Carl Crawford, 9-for-59 (.153) since his return from the disabled list entering Wednesday, followed with a single, then Andre Ethier snapped an 0-for-10 slump with an RBI double, his first hit since July 22 to put the Dodgers up 2-0. When Justin Turner walked, the Dodgers had a pair of runners on base with nobody out, threatening for even more.
They were stranded.
But thanks to Haren, the Dodgers already had all the runs they needed.
Hyun-Jin Ryu gets the call in the Freeway Series finale on Thursday night, facing off against fellow southpaw C.J. Wilson.
Home run: Matt Kemp (14)
WP - Dan Haren (9-9): 7⅓ IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 4 strikeouts
LP - Matt Shoemaker (9-4): 6 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (32): 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts