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FREEWAY SERIES

Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo add deep meaning as Angels beat Dodgers

The otherwise inconsequential exhibition finale, an 8-3 Angels win at Dodger Stadium, is spiced up by tape-measure home runs from Angels' Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo against Dodgers' Nathan Eovaldi.

April 04, 2012|By Jim Peltz
  • Angels first baseman Albert Pujols hits a home run during the first inning of the Angels' 8-3 Freeway Series victory over the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols hits a home run during the first inning… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

The exhibition game was meaningless, of course, a final practice as spring training ended and opening day beckoned.

Even so, the 16,990 who saw the Angels defeat the Dodgers, 8-3, at Dodger Stadium — including Angels owner Arte Moreno — were treated to two did-you-see-that home runs courtesy of the Angels, at the expense of Dodgers starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.

With the victory Wednesday afternoon, the Angels won the rubber game of the three-game Freeway Series ahead of the Dodgers' regular-season opener Thursday in San Diego against the Padres, and the Angels' opener Friday in Anaheim against the Kansas City Royals.

Eovaldi struck out the side in the first inning, but sandwiched in between the strikeouts was Albert Pujols, who again demonstrated why the Angels invested $240 million to bring the slugger to Anaheim for 10 years.

Pujols hit a rocket estimated at 441 feet that landed behind the Dodgers' bullpen beyond the left-field fence.

Not to be outdone, Angels third baseman Mark Trumbo launched a second-inning home run against Eovaldi estimated to have traveled 444 feet, into the stands in left-center.

"That one went out fast too," said Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly.

Eovaldi also surrendered a two-run home run to Ryan Langerhans in the fourth inning, and overall gave up seven runs (five earned) and eight hits in 41/3 innings. Fortunately for Eovaldi and the Dodgers, it didn't count.

Eovaldi was sent to double-A Chattanooga after the game, but the 22-year-old right-hander — who made six starts for the Dodgers last season — is a leading candidate to return if one of the Dodgers' starting pitchers is injured.

Meanwhile, Angels starting pitcher C.J. Wilson threw four scoreless innings, struck out five and lowered his spring earned-run average to a sparkling 1.11.

Wilson was another of the Angels' big acquisitions this season, a free agent who came from the Texas Rangers for a five-year, $77.5-million contract.

The left-hander said his spring was "a big learning experience" that included "getting on the same page with new catchers. I made a lot of improvements. Today was a good tuneup for the season."

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said Wilson would make his first start Monday against the Twins in Minnesota.

The Dodgers rested several everyday players, and the Angels let their regulars play only a couple of innings. Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, shortstop Dee Gordon and second baseman Mark Ellis did not play.

Neither did Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, who was hit hard on the upper arm by a pitch thrown by the Angels' Ervin Santana on Tuesday night. But Mattingly said of Ellis: "He's OK. He didn't get hit on any bones."

james.peltz@latimes.com

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