Sunday, June 26, 2011
Dodgers 3, Angels 2: Three Up, Three Down
By Mark Saxon
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers avoided a sweep at home by rallying for two runs off Angels closer Jordan Walden to win Sunday's game 3-2 in the ninth inning. Tony Gwynn Jr.'s single -- his third hit of the day -- drove in the winning run.
Sleight of hand. You could question Erick Aybar's decision-making when he tried to stretch a bloop single into a double in the seventh inning, but his body control was extraordinary. The throw beat him by plenty, but Aybar dove headfirst and pulled his hands in to get around Juan Uribe's tag before hooking the bag. Aybar also was off with contact on Howie Kendrick's single (which Matt Kemp nearly caught) and beat that throw narrowly.
Stinginess. Jered Weaver wasn't nearly as dominant as ClaytonKershaw was, judging by the fact he only had four strikeouts. But he was equally unwilling to give any ground. Weaver got through seven innings without much trouble until Gwynn hit an RBI triple off Vernon Wells' glove.
The trip. It wasn't the toughest competition in the world, but it was still an exhausting trip that crossed three time zones and visited every corner of the nation. The Angels went to Seattle, New York, Miami and Los Angeles and returned with eight wins in 12 games and were two outs from a ninth. Pretty solid work.
Wells' first eight innings. He struck out in all three at-bats against Kershaw and then, with the game on the line, let the ball bounce off the heel of his glove. It wasn't an easy play, on the run to the backhand, but it was a catchable fly ball. It might have cost Weaver his 10th win and lead position to start the All-Star game. Wells later put the Angels in position for a win with a solo homer off Kershaw in the ninth.
Bearing down. Giving up the long fly to Gwynn was one thing, but what set up that Dodgers run was Kershaw’s two-out single to left. Kershaw has more hits than any pitcher in baseball this year, but Weaver should be able to win that battle.
Command issues. It's almost always the same thing when Walden blows a save, which he has now done two outings in a row: The rookie closer walks the leadoff batter. Sunday he walked the first two batters and couldn't quite pitch out of the mess he created.