The Dodgers’ four-game winning streak was snapped on a sweltering hot night in Orange County. The official game time temperature was a record 108°F at Angel Stadium.
Even though the temperatures were high, the offense was lukewarm. Kenta Maeda and Felix Peña both kept the opposing bats at bay in a close one-run contest between the two So Cal teams, but the Angels came back in the bottom of the ninth against Kenley Jansen to walk-off with the 3-2 Freeway Series opener victory.
Maeda, who didn’t allow a run until he ran into a shaky sixth-inning, welcomed his second child earlier Friday. One day he’ll be able to tell his son that he mowed down a bunch of Angels - including Mike Trout - on his birthday.
The much-anticipated matchup between Maeda and Shohei Ohtani came in the second inning with two outs. Ohtani, who turned 24-years old yesterday, struck out swinging on three pitches against Maeda to end the frame.
Punched him out. #マエケン pic.twitter.com/YhzbQKisAZ— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 7, 2018
The first hit of the night for either side was a booming Cody Bellinger double off the glass of the left-center field wall in the fourth inning. Soon-to-be-All-Star Matt Kemp then drove in the first run of the night for the Dodgers with a RBI single against Peña .
The Angels didn’t have a base runner until the bottom of the fourth inning. Andrelton Simmons legged out a double that barely stayed foul along the left field line. Dave Roberts challenged the safe call at second - but it was upheld - after Joc Pederson made it a very close play on a strong throw from the outfield.
Maeda ended up striking out the side in the fourth and pitched around a dropped ball error by Max Muncy at first base. Maeda came back with that wicked changeup again to strike out Trout and his slider to get Justin Upton, ending the threat.
Ohtani popped out in his second at-bat vs. Maeda in the fifth.
Justin Turner earned the first walk of the evening for the Dodgers with one out in the sixth, ending Peña’s night. The right-hander went 5 1⁄3 scoreless innings and struck out eight on 76 pitches. Noe Ramirez is brought in from the Angels’ bullpen, and he walked Bellinger. The Dodgers cash in after the two walks, but it was on a wacky RBI single by Kemp. Bellinger ended up being called out after running out of the baseline during a lengthy pickle.
This is the weirdest of baseball. pic.twitter.com/ssg0P3DZMH— MLB (@MLB) July 7, 2018
The Angels scored a run in the sixth after their first two batters reached base safely. Maeda got a very generous strike three call on Kole Calhoun. It was the second pitch of the at-bat that looked outside of the zone. The runners tagged up and advanced to second and third on a deep fly ball by Simmons. Roberts intentionally walked Trout to load the bases for cleanup hitter Upton. A balk was called on Maeda, bringing in a run for the Halos. A walk to Upton loaded the bases up, and that would be the end of the line for Maeda.
Roberts brought in Scott Alexander to get the last out who happens to be Albert Pujols, and he struck him out.
For reasons, Daniel Hudson (set-up man?), came in to pitch the eighth. You can guess who he had to face with two outs and a runner on. After two borderline calls, Hudson induced a pop-out from Trout to end the inning and preserve the one-run lead. #NeverWorried.
With two outs in the ninth, Kenley Jansen walked Ohtani. That was costly, because he stole second and took third on a throwing error by Yasmani Grandal. David Fletcher’s RBI single brought in Ohtani to tie up the game, and Fletcher scored the game-winning run on an error in right field by Yasiel Puig who bobbled an Ian Kinsler single. What a bizarre ending.
The D-backs beat the Padres 3-1, and the Snakes take back sole possession of first place in the NL West.
The Dodgers scored 31 runs against the Pirates in the three-game series, but they only scored two runs in the series opener against the Angels.
The Dodgers haven’t hit a home run since Enrique Hernandez’s 6th-inning homer on Tuesday.
The Freeway Series continues on Saturday afternoon in Anaheim with first pitch at 4:15 PM. Ross Stripling (6-2, 2.27 ERA, 2.67 FIP) looks to pitch himself closer to a possible All-Star nod. Deck McGuire (0-1, 7.56 ERA, 10.79 FIP) takes the mound for the Halos.
WP - Blake Parker (2-1): 1.0 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 1 strikeout
LP - Kenley Jansen (0-2): 0.2 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout