The LA Angels of Anaheim blew a seemingly comfortable lead in their recent matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers and look to get back on track Tuesday at Chavez Ravine.
The Angels entered Monday's series opener with the Dodgers on a season-high eight-game winning streak and appeared headed toward a ninth win in a row. However, a 6-1 lead by the fourth inning wasn't large enough for that to happen and the Dodgers rallied for an 8-7 win.
A four-run fifth inning by the Dodgers evened things up and they eventually pulled away. Angels starter C.J. Wilson avoided a decision, and thankfully so, after he was ripped for six runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. Angels reliever Robert Coello tossed the last two innings and was dealt the loss for giving up the go-ahead run.
"We got a big lead early, but unfortunately, C.J. (Wilson) couldn't make some of his pitches," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Give them credit, they came back."
Howie Kendrick had three hits and two RBI, while Albert Pujols went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored for the Angels. Erick Aybar and Mike Trout both ended with two hits and an RBI in defeat, the Angels' first since May 17 versus the Chicago White Sox.
Despite the loss, Scioscia is still pleased with the recent effort.
"We're playing better. That's what our focus is," Scioscia said. "We were in a long tailspin early, couldn't do the things we needed to do to win games. Now we are and the results are better."
The Angels will close out this brief series at Dodger Stadium Tuesday before hosting Los Angeles for two games in Anaheim Wednesday and Thursday.
Angels right-hander Joe Blanton hasn't won back-to-back starts in almost a year (last June 8-14) and looks to end that drought Tuesday. Blanton finally earned a win in an Angels uniform last Thursday in a 5-4 victory at Kansas City and was reached for a season-low two runs in 6 1/3 innings.
The Angels have won each of Blanton's last two trips to the mound and he is 1-7 with a 6.19 earned run average in 10 starts. Blanton, who went 2-4 with a 4.99 ERA in 10 starts with the Dodgers last season, has faced them six times -- all starts -- in his career, going 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA.
Blanton is just 1-4 in five road starts this season.
The Dodgers have alternated wins and losses in their previous eight games and Monday's come-from-behind victory was impressive. In the four-run fifth inning that knotted things at 6-6, Mark Ellis had a two-RBI double and both Adrian Gonzalez and Scott Van Slyke drove in runs to get L.A. back into the game.
"We got a lot of big hits tonight," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "A lot of good things happened. It didn't start pretty, but it was a good effort by us to come back."
After both teams exchanged runs, Jerry Hairston, who was activated off of the disabled list prior to the game, knocked in Gonzalez with an RBI single to put the Dodgers in front to stay. Gonzalez had a big day at the plate, going 4- for-4 with four runs scored and an RBI, while Ellis and Van Slyke had two RBI apiece.
Zack Greinke started for the Dodgers against his former team and did not figure into the decision after he gave up six runs -- four earned -- and 10 hits over four innings. Ronald Belisario got the final two outs of the seventh inning for the win and Brandon League later tossed a scoreless ninth for his 11th save of the season.
Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp finished 0-for-5 on Monday and hasn't had a hit since May 22 at Milwaukee. He is hitting .000 in his last four games, going 0- for-12 in that stretch with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Making his 11th start for the Dodgers Tuesday will be rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu is 5-2 with a 3.30 earned run average in his first 10 starts and is 2-0 over the past three. He defeated Milwaukee on the road last Wednesday by allowing only two runs in 7 1/3 innings of a 9-2 win at Miller Park.
"That's not an easy club to pitch to," Mattingly said.
Ryu has never faced the Angels and is 3-1 in four starts at Dodger Stadium.
The Angels took four of the six meetings with the Dodgers last season and have won 13 of the previous 19 games in this series.