Dee Gordon singles in the first inning of Saturday's game against… (Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles…)
It wasn’t supposed to be a struggle. Anyway that wasn’t the plan. Certainly that wasn’t what the last month of Dee Gordon seemed to indicate last season.
But 2012 has been full of ups-and-downs for the slender shortstop, trending much more toward the downs.
“I think I kind of assumed he would just take off again from where he left off,” said Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly.
Mattingly has stuck by his young shortstop, convinced patience will be rewarded by an outstanding player. Patience that, at least on Saturday,was rewarded in the Dodgers’ 3-1 victory over the Angels.
An Angel Stadium sellout crowd of 44,512 saw Gordon score twice, as the Dodgers snapped a four-game losing streak behind a strong start by left-hander Chris Capuano.
The Dodgers scored two quick runs off Ervin Santana in the first, sparked by Gordon’s speed and a pair of Angels’ errors.
Gordon snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a leadoff single, and then quickly stole second. When Jerry Hairston Jr. bounced to first, Albert Pujols mistakenly tried to throw out Gordon advancing to third.
Maybe he hadn’t heard about Gordon’s speed. Gordon would have been safe anyway, but Pujols’ throw hit Gordon in the back as he slid into third, ricocheting away for an error as Gordon came home with the first run.
Hairston took second on the Pujols error and third on a Bobby Abreu groundout. He scored when Maicer Izturis threw high to first on a Juan Rivera bouncer and pulled Pujols off the bag for another error.
Capuano (9-2) was fairly breezing through the Angels’ lineup. The only time they got to him for a run was in the fifth when Howie Kendrick doubled, took third when Izturis bounced out and scored on an Erick Aybar infield single off the glove of a diving Gordon.
Santana retired 13 consecutive Dodgers after they scored their second run, but Gordon accounted for their final run in the sixth after he led off with a triple … to left field. That’s reserved for the really, really fast guys.
Gordon scored when Hairston lined a single off the glove of Izturis at third.
Capuano went seven strong innings, holding the Angels to the one run on seven hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out four. Ronald Belisario threw a scoreless eighth and Kenley Jansen – who hadn’t pitched in eight days -- the ninth to earn his 12th save.
Santana (4-8), who threw a one-hit shutout against Arizona in his last start, allowed only four hits in his eight innings, striking out 10 without a walk.