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Rapid Reaction: Dodgers 7, Angels 0

8/8/2014

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Dodgers received another gem from a starting pitcher Thursday night, this time from left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who kept the Los Angeles Angels off-balance through seven shutout innings, leading the way in the 7-0 victory in front of the emotionally divided crowd at Angel Stadium.

The Dodgers also benefited from exceptional defensive support and a few clutch at-bats to win their second straight game in Anaheim and third straight overall against the Angels in the finale of the four-game home-and-home series. The win moved them 3½ games up on the San Francisco Giants for the NL West lead.

How it happened: With no room for error the way Ryu was throwing, Angels starter C.J. Wilson seemed overmatched from the start. He tossed three straight balls to start the third inning, bounced back to get Miguel Rojas on a comebacker, but then walked two of the next three batters, sandwiched around an infield single by Yasiel Puig. Hanley Ramirez then stepped up and lined a 1-0 pitch up the middle to score the game's first two runs, and Matt Kemp followed with a run-scoring sacrifice fly after Wilson again fell behind 3-0. The three-run cushion proved more than enough for Ryu, who gave up two hits over seven innings to improve to 13-5 and lower his ERA to 3.21.

Hits: Ramirez was given the night off at shortstop and second baseman Dee Gordon didn't play at all, but the Dodgers didn't skip a beat up the middle. In fact, some might conclude Rojas and Justin Turner were an improvement at those positions -- at least for a night. Rojas had a pair of singles and made several dazzling plays at shortstop, including a tough backhand in the hole to get the speedy Collin Cowgill for the first out in the sixth inning, a play in which Cowgill was originally ruled safe. That proved big after Erick Aybar followed with a walk and Albert Pujols delivered a two-out double down the left-field line. Puig ended the inning with a fine running catch at the wall on a deep drive to left-center field by Josh Hamilton. Turner played second base and also stepped into the leadoff spot for Gordon, reaching base in three of five plate appearances.

Misses: Wilson didn't make it out of the fifth inning for the sixth straight start and his ERA has swelled from 3.34 to 4.82 in that span. He walked four batters and hit one while pitching from behind to several others. Wilson won nine of his last 10 decisions to cap last season, but the Angels were basically looking ahead to this year by then. They need Wilson to regain his form in a hurry if they expect to make any noise in the postseason. That's if they get there at all. The New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays remain in position to make a run at the Angels and Kansas City Royals for the two wild-card spots.

Stat of the game: The Angels didn't get anything from the meat of their batting order the past two games and combined for one run as a result. Mike Trout, Pujols and Hamilton combined to go 1-for-23 in the past two games.

Up next: The Dodgers continue their nine-game road trip Friday in Milwaukee, with Roberto Hernandez (6-8, 3.87 ERA) making his Dodgers debut a day after he was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in a trade. He'll face off against Kyle Lohse (11-6, 3.40) in the series opener.