The way the World Series champions’ rocky title defense has been going for the past three weeks, perhaps it’s no surprise they couldn’t claim their first win in six days without some sort of energy-draining drama.
The Dodgers still came out of Angel Stadium smiling.
“You don’t want that to happen, but I think beggars can’t be choosers right now,” Mookie Betts said. “We’ll take any win that we can get.”
Betts drove in a season-high four runs and the Dodgers held on for a 14-11 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night, snapping their four-game losing streak in hair-raising fashion.
“We needed a win, so there was a lot more good that came out of tonight than bad,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
But the highest-scoring game in Freeway Series history got that way in bizarre circumstances. After neither team managed a hit in the first three innings, the Dodgers went up 13-0 in the fifth, only to watch their bullpen surrender 11 runs to the Angels by the seventh.
Just when the Angels could realistically think about the largest comeback in major league history — the biggest lead ever blown is 12 runs — the Dodgers’ bullpen retired their final seven batters. Victor Gonzalez pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and Blake Treinen threw a perfect ninth for his first save.
Clayton Kershaw (5-3) pitched five innings of two-hit ball on three days’ rest for the Dodgers, who emerged from a three-week funk for just their fifth win in 19 juegos. Corey Seager had three of the Dodgers’ 17 hits in their seventh win over the Halos in eight meetings over the past two seasons.
“All the wins count the same,” Kershaw said. “We’re starting to figure it out. Tonight was a good start.”
The Halos scored seven unearned runs in a two-out rally in the seventh, caped by Jose Rojas’ first career homer. The dramatic three-run shot — the only homer in a 25-run game — trimmed the lead to three runs, but the Angels could take it no farther.
Angels manager Joe Maddon watched the final innings from the clubhouse after getting ejected.
“You can feel momentum, even through a television screen,” Maddon said. “Really wonderful, the at-bats, moving the conga line. No quit. … That’s kind of a bonding moment, in a sense. Really proud of the boys.”
Jared Walsh had a two-run single in a four-run sixth for the Halos, who took their sixth loss in seven games.
The Southern California rivals had never scored more than 19 combined runs in the previous 131 editions of this series, which the Angels lead 71-61.
The Dodgers scored 13 runs in two innings with just two extra-base hits, and all nine Dodgers starters scored for the first time since October 2019. After going 3 por 36 with runners in scoring position during their four-game skid, the Dodgers got hits in seven of their first nine opportunities in the fourth inning alone.
The Dodgers chased Dylan Bundy (0-4) in the fourth with a spree of soft-contact hits leading to six runs.
“It’s very frustrating, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing you can do about it,” said Bundy, who yielded five hits. “You can put guys where they’ve been hitting the ball against us, but as soon as you do, they hit it somewhere else.”
Kershaw hadn’t pitched on three days’ rest since the 2016 playoffs, but he stepped up to help out the Dodgers’ injury-plagued rotation after he lasted just one inning against the Cubs last Tuesday in the shortest start of his career.
Kershaw visibly didn’t want to come out after five innings, and the Dodgers’ bullpen justified his concern.
Relievers Dennis Santana and Mitch White also didn’t get enough help: The Angels’ seventh-inning rally started with Austin Barnes’ error on Shohei Ohtani’s two-out grounder.
DJ AND JOE
Dodgers outfielder DJ Peters got his first major league hit with a double in the seventh when Jon Jay barely missed a sliding catch down the left field line.
Maddon then was ejected for the 57th time in his career for arguing the ball should have been ruled foul by the umpires, who didn’t change their call after video review. Maddon passed Sparky Anderson and tied Dick Williams for the 16th-most ejections by a manager in baseball history.
SALA DEL ENTRENADOR
Dodgers: Recalled Peters and optioned RHP Edwin Uceta to cover for OF AJ Pollock, who strained his hamstring Friday.
Ángeles: RHP Alex Cobb went on the injured list with a blister. He was scheduled to start Monday. They didn’t immediately replace him on the roster.
HASTA LA PRÓXIMA
Trevor Bauer (3-1, 2.44 ERA) pitches on four days’ rest for the Dodgers in the series finale against the Angels’ struggling José Quintana (0-3, 10.59). Bauer hasn’t faced the Angels since 2017, but is 4-0 against the Halos in five career starts.