Angels stop five-game slide by routing Dodgers, who lose fourth in a row

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The Angels' Shohei Ohtani, top, gives manager Joe Maddon a high-five while celebrating a 9-2 win against the Dodgers.
The Angels' Shohei Ohtani, top, gives manager Joe Maddon a high-five while celebrating a 9-2 win over the Dodgers on Friday night at Angel Stadium. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

We missed you, Tommy.

Dodger Stadium might have been Tommy Lasorda’s home, but Angel Stadium was his home ballpark.

For decades, Lasorda lived in a modest Fullerton house, seven miles from Angel Stadium. Whenever the Dodgers and Angels met here in the Freeway Series, Lasorda was a popular presence around the batting cage.

They played a Freeway Series game on Friday, in Anaheim, for the first time since Lasorda passed away in January. This game would have prompted someone to ask Lasorda his opinion of the Dodgers’ performance and, well, you bleeping know.

It was not just that the Dodgers lost. It was how they lost.

The Angels — with Justin Upton and Taylor Ward hitting home runs, David Fletcher driving in three runs and Shohei Ohtani doubling twice — broke a five-game losing streak with a 9-2 victory over the Dodgers. The Angels matched their most lopsided victory this season and handed the Dodgers their most lopsided defeat this season.

The Dodgers lost for the fourth consecutive game, and for the 14th time in 18 games. They dropped 21/2 games out of first place in the National League West, their biggest deficit since April 13, 2019.

They also lost left fielder AJ Pollock to a hamstring strain, at a time center fielder Cody Bellinger and utilityman Zach McKinstry remain on the injured list. For now, the Dodgers list Pollock as day-to-day, manager Dave Roberts said.

They had talked about the need to do the little things better.

Mookie Betts started to walk away from the plate after what he thought was a called third strike. Julio Urias started to walk off the mound after what he thought was a called third strike. Corey Seager was picked off second base. Will Smith slammed his bat to the ground after popping up — although he was able to recover when the ball dropped in, hustling into second base.

Pollock charged a sinking line drive — a tough play, but Pollock reached down so he could at least stop the ball, if he could not catch it. He did neither. He injured his hamstring on another play later in that inning.

Roberts said he did not believe the plays reflected a concerning pattern.

“I think they’re isolated,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a lack of focus.”

In 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position, the Dodgers got one hit. They did not score a run, though, because it was an infield single that advanced a runner from second base to third.

It was an odd evening all around. The Angels essentially fired Albert Pujols on Thursday, then played a tribute video in his honor Friday, in his absence. Their starting catcher was Drew Butera, who last played for the Angels in 2015 and who was listed Friday morning as a member of the Texas Rangers’ taxi squad.

Butera, who had never met Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning until 90 minutes before game time, nonetheless guided Canning and Patrick Sandoval on a combined eight-hitter.

The Dodgers' AJ Pollock (11) leaves the game after he sustained an injury during the sixth inning May 7, 2021.
Dodgers outfielder AJ Pollock — escorted by manager Dave Roberts, right, and assistant athletic trainer Yosuke Nakajima, left — leaves in the sixth inning after suffering a hamstring injury. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

“It’s almost like a complete game,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said.

Urias had been unbeaten in his previous 21 regular-season starts, dating to April 12, 2019. He gave up four runs in the second inning and fell behind for good, giving up five runs — including two home runs — in five innings.

Upton led off the inning with a 436-foot home run. Ward, whom the Angels preferred to Pujols as an accompaniment to Jared Walsh in their lineup, homered later in the inning.

The Angels poured across four more in the sixth, an inning that included doubles from Fletcher, Ohtani and Jose Rojas and a triple from Mike Trout. When Trout’s name is the last one in an account of a big Angels victory, the home team had a good night indeed.

Kershaw time

On Saturday, Clayton Kershaw will make his first career regular-season start on three days’ rest. On Tuesday, the three-time Cy Young winner gave up four runs and four hits in one inning of 7-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs. He made 39 pitches.

“He didn’t exert himself too much in that start,” Roberts said. “So he feels good about [starting on three days’ rest] and we feel good about it.”

Times staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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