YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Angels avoid being swept

Lackey gives up three hits over 8 2/3 innings in a 1-0 win over Dodgers, who lose Pierre to an injury. Rodriguez picks up 32nd save.

June 30, 2008|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

The Angels and Dodgers parted ways Sunday, the Angels heading home for a three-game set against Oakland and the Dodgers leaving for a four-game series in Houston, their shared concerns only magnified by what played out in the Freeway Series over the last three days.

The Angels couldn't score.

The Dodgers couldn't, either, and they lost Juan Pierre, perhaps for 15 days.

The Angels scored Sunday for the first time in the series on a second-inning single by Mike Napoli that drove in Juan Rivera, the run holding up for a 1-0 victory at Dodger Stadium as starter John Lackey tossed 8 2/3 innings and Francisco Rodriguez earned his 32nd save by forcing James Loney to ground out with the bases loaded.

The teams combined for eight runs and 28 hits in the series, with six of the runs and 10 of the hits put up by the Dodgers in the first game.

"At some point," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said, "we've got to start putting points on the board."

Saturday night, Lackey witnessed the Angels become the fifth team in the modern history of baseball to lose without giving up a hit. Wasted were eight no-hit innings by Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo.

"I came in thinking I've got to get it done no matter what," said Lackey, who improved to 6-1 and lowered his earned-run average to 1.44. "If we don't give up any runs, we can't lose. It was definitely one of those days where you have to make it hold up. You have to make it work."

In the home clubhouse, right fielder Andre Ethier fielded several questions about why he didn't try to cut down Rivera at home and instead threw to third base to prevent the other two runners from advancing.

"He was too far around third," Ethier said of Rivera.

In retrospect, did he think he could've thrown him out?

"Probably not."

Ethier said he did what he was taught to do, that what he did was basic.

But doesn't that change when the team is in the kind of offensive rut the Dodgers are in?

"You have to stay confident through it all," he said.

The Dodgers' faith could be further tested in the coming days, if not weeks, depending on what an MRI exam discloses about what happened to Pierre's knee when he stole second base in the sixth inning and was injured when shortstop Erick Aybar fell on his leg.

Pierre, the Dodgers' leadoff batter, didn't travel to Houston on Sunday, leaving Jeff Kent and .169 hitter Angel Berroa as the only starting position players on the team who began the season with more than two years of major league experience.

Manager Joe Torre conceded that "our biggest offensive explosion of the last two days" came in the ninth inning Sunday, when Delwyn Young singled and Russell Martin walked, forcing Scioscia to remove Lackey. Rodriguez walked Kent to load the bases, but forced Loney into a game-ending groundout.

Torre has often been critical of the way his team's young players have approached their at-bats, but he gave them a pass for being held to three hits by Lackey, who sat out the first six weeks of the season because of a triceps strain but has made a quality start in every one of his nine games. Lackey struck out nine.

"We're not doing anything offensively, but this was more about him than it was about us," Torre said.

There was also a tone of resignation in the voice of Derek Lowe (5-8), who gave up one run and struck out seven over seven innings but was saddled with the loss.

"You have to look at the series and say we won two out of three," Lowe said.


Los Angeles Times Articles