The Los Angeles Dodgers sport the majors' best record overall and at home, and will shoot for a third consecutive series win this evening versus the LA Angels of Anaheim at Chavez Ravine.
The Dodgers lost the opener of this set on Monday, then posted a 5-2 win last night to even the three-game set. Trailing 2-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Dodgers pushed four runs across to take the lead for good. Andre Ethier, whose new contract extension became official on Tuesday, had an RBI single to even the score and former Angel Juan Rivera followed with a three-run homer to stake L.A. to a three-run advantage.
Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen then struck out a pair of batters during a scoreless ninth inning for his 10th save, but the real story was Rivera.
"I went up there to be aggressive," said Rivera, who had four RBI. "He threw me a sinker before and I was looking for it. I tried to hit it hard and was happy because I knew I hit it good."
Jamey Wright tossed a scoreless eighth to pick up the win, while starter Aaron Harang gave up two unearned runs in seven innings. The NL West-leading Dodgers, who have won eight of 11 games, ended a five-game home losing streak and improved to 22-10 as the host. They are 4 1/2 games ahead of San Francisco in the division and will begin a three-game series versus the Chicago White Sox on Friday.
Tonight, the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings will throw out the ceremonial first pitch in honor of the franchise's first title. The Kings just beat the New Jersey Devils in six games and will have their picture taken with both the Dodgers and Angels.
"I understand how hard it is to win in any sport and obviously the Stanley Cup is a huge deal, and I'm very happy for the city and the Kings," Dodgers utility man Jerry Hairston said on the team's website. "I know it's been a long time coming. It was an unbelievable run for them."
Nathan Eovaldi gets the start for the Dodgers tonight and is 0-2 with a 1.93 earned run average in three starts. The right-hander did not record a decision in Friday's 1-0 loss at Seattle, when the Dodgers were no-hit by six different Mariners pitchers. Eovaldi was sharp with six scoreless innings, striking out six batters and walking two.
Eovaldi lost his only home start on May 29 versus Milwaukee and has never faced the Angels.
The Angels had a 10-game road winning streak come to an end last night and were one victory away of matching a franchise-best 11-game winning streak as the guest set back in 1988.
Jerome Williams didn't have his best stuff on Tuesday and was dealt the loss for giving up five runs and six hits in 7 2/3 innings of work. He managed to fan seven batters and walked three.
Albert Pujols had two hits for the Halos, who scored their runs on fielding errors by the Dodgers. Mike Trout was 0-for-4 and entered the game with hits in 14 of his last 15 games, batting .444 with two homers, 14 RBI and 18 runs scored in that time. Mark Trumbo was 1-for-3 and was hitting .350 with eight homers and 20 RBI in the past 15 contests.
"We worked hard but didn't get it done. Give those guys credit, we weren't able to get situations to fall in our favor," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Anaheim had won four in a row before last night's loss and will close out a six-game road trip tonight, The Angels, who are still 15-5 in their last 20 games, will return to the Big A this weekend for a nine-game homestand versus the Diamondbacks, Giants and Dodgers.
The Angels, currently 3 1/3 games behind Texas for the AL West lead, hope left-handed ace C.J. Wilson can pitch them back into the win column tonight. Wilson is 3-0 with a sparkling 0.64 earned run average in his last four starts and tossed eight innings of one-run ball the last time out in a 7-2 win at Colorado on Friday. He struck out nine batters and walked only one, improving to 7-4 in 13 starts and lowering his ERA to 2.39.
Wilson is 5-2 in eight road starts this season and will make his first career start against the Dodgers. He faced them before in relief.
The Angels are 10-4 against the Dodgers since the start of the 2010 campaign and own an 11-5 mark in the past 16 at Chavez Ravine.