Park blanks Angels for six innings in shutout win

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Chan Ho Park, back where he had the best years of his career, has been revitalized by his return to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Park, 33, struck out seven and scattered four hits over his six innings in the Dodgers' 6-0 victory over the Angels on Friday night. Crisp from the beginning of his third start after appearing in relief this year, he didn't walk a batter.

Park, who is 3-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 22 appearances, said it had been "maybe five or six years" since he has pitched as well as he has this season.

After struggling during stints with Texas, San Diego and the New York Mets, what has caused the turnaround?

"A little bit of everything," said Park, who had a 75-49 record for the Dodgers from 1997-2001. "A little bit mechanics, a better mentality. Better family support."

He smiled and added, "Better city? Better teammates? I don't know. I had some injuries. When you're healthy, it's easier to trust yourself."

Russell Martin gave Park and three Dodgers relievers all they would need when he hit a solo homer off Joe Saunders (11-4) in the first inning. Andre Ethier added a three-run shot against Justin Speier in the seventh.

"Chan Ho pitched very well, and the offense stepped up," Ethier said.

The six-run outburst, coming one game after the Dodgers were shut out 2-0 by the Chicago White Sox, was against Joe Saunders (11-4), who is tied for the major league lead in victories.

Saunders allowed three runs, two earned, and five hits in five innings. He walked four.

Brian Falkenborg set the Angels down in order in the seventh, then Jonathan Broxton struck out the side in the eighth, and Takashi Saito did the same in the ninth. The four Dodgers pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia gave them credit.

"We did something uncharacteristic for us, which is strike out so much," Scioscia said. "So those guys were making some pitches."

The Angels' Torii Hunter, who went 0-for-3 and struck out once, said Park was throwing well.

"I wouldn't say we were too anxious. He was just that good. He had his slider going," Hunter said.

The victory was only the Dodgers' third in their last 12 games in the "Freeway Series," including losing two of three in Anaheim earlier this season. The Angels lead the all-time series 37-29.

The AL West-leading Angels, whose 48-32 record is among the best in the majors, lost for only the third time in their last 13 games on the road. The Dodgers, five games below .500 but still in second place behind Arizona in the NL West, won for the third time in their last seven games.

The Dodgers opened a 3-0 lead after shortstop Erick Aybar's throwing error to second base on Martin's grounder in the fifth put runners on second and third. Kent followed with a sacrifice fly, then Loney singled in a run.

The Angels got a runner as far as third base twice against Park, in the first and sixth, but he pitched out of trouble both times. He retired 16 of the last 18 batters he faced.

Ethier's two-out homer, his seventh, came after Martin and Kent opened the inning with singles.

Game notes
Dodgers SS Rafael Furcal, CF Andruw Jones and possibly 3B Nomar Garciaparra are scheduled to begin rehab assignments for Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday. Furcal and Garciaparra could return before the All-Star break, and Jones could soon follow afterward. ... Dodgers RHPs Hiroki Kuroda and Brad Penny had their scheduled simulated games for Saturday scrapped. Both will instead throw bullpen sessions because Penny is still feeling something in his shoulder and Kruoda's neck is still bothering him. ... Angels 3B and leadoff man Chone Figgins sat out with infection in his right knee, the result of a slide, and is listed as day-to-day. ... Angels RHP Kelvim Escobar will begin a rehab assignment on Monday with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. ... Angels OF Juan Rivera was still in Miami dealing with some family issues after his wife gave birth, but he's expected back by Saturday. Mom and child are OK and the complications are not considered serious.