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MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Juan Rivera's three-run homer helps Dodgers beat Angels, 5-2

The Dodgers give away Mike Sciosca bobbleheads, then top his team.

June 12, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Fans cheer Dodgers left fielder Juan Rivera following his three-run home run in the eighth inning of the Dodgers' 5-2 victory over the Angels at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.
Fans cheer Dodgers left fielder Juan Rivera following his three-run home… (Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles…)

The Dodgers put the "bobble" in Mike Scioscia Bobblehead Night on Tuesday, fumbling and stumbling their way through seven innings against the Angels before two devastating eighth-inning swings by Andre Ethier and Juan Rivera cured all of their ills.

Ethier, who signed a five-year, $85-million contract extension earlier in the day, hit a two-out, run-scoring single to tie the score, and Rivera followed with a three-run home run to lift the Dodgers to a 5-2 interleague victory in front of 55,279 in Dodger Stadium.

"Unbelievable to follow up right there," Ethier said of Rivera's homer. "Obviously, my hit was a momentum-changer. He put the exclamation point on it."

Angels starter Jerome Williams needed only 79 pitches to sail through seven innings, giving up one run and four hits, and he took a 2-1 lead into the eighth.

Elian Herrera drew a one-out walk and was rubbed out on Dee Gordon's fielder's-choice grounder, but Gordon stole second with a head-first slide, a play that was close enough for Scioscia, the Angels manager and former Dodgers catcher who was honored with Tuesday night's giveaway, to question umpire Joe West's call.

Asked whether he was safe, Gordon said, "Joe says so."

What did Gordon think? "Safe. I'm going with Joe," he said.

A.J. Ellis walked to put runners on first and second, but with veteran left-hander Scott Downs sidelined because of a rib-cage injury after stabbing at a line drive Sunday in Colorado, Scioscia left Williams in to face the left-handed-hitting Ethier, who began the game with a National League-leading 53 runs batted in.

Ethier, after taking a fastball on the inside corner that Williams thought was strike three, stroked a single to right field to drive in Gordon for his 500th run batted in and a 2-2 tie.

Rivera, the former Angels outfielder, crushed Williams' next pitch into the left-field pavilion for his third home run and a 5-2 lead. Closer Kenley Jansen struck out two of three batters in the ninth for his 10th save, as the Dodgers ended the Angels' winning streak at four games and road winning streak at 10 games.

"It has to feel good, he played for the Angels," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said. "But if you hit a three-run homer to win a game, it feels good; I don't care who you're playing."

Ethier was a little surprised Downs was not throwing, but it wasn't as if he was glad Williams remained in the game.

"I was watching the bullpen, nobody was warming up," Ethier said. "They had a lot of faith in Jerome pitching there, and rightfully so. He threw a lot of different pitches for strikes. We didn't go out there and smash 10 or 12 hits. They just happened to be at the right time."

Until the eighth inning, the Dodgers did everything they could to hand the Angels the game, second baseman Adam Kennedy, a former Angel, committing two errors, one physical and one mental, that led to two unearned runs.

In addition to his two key hits, Ethier made a diving catch of Maicer Izturis' broken-bat flare to shallow right field with runners on first and third to end the seventh inning.

Angels first baseman Albert Pujols singled and doubled for his seventh straight multihit game, collecting the 4,000th total base of his career in the process.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

twitter.com/MikeDiGiovanna

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