The Dodgers defense came up big in the first inning after Chone Figgins walked to lead off the game. Casey Blake fielded a high hop that nearly rolled into left field and threw Hunter out at first base with James Loney making a sparkling pickup of a low throw. Rafael Furcal fumbled a grounder and threw low to first and again Loney dug the ball out to end the inning.
The two teams battled through the first four scoreless innings with Kershaw matching John Lackey pitch for pitch. Lackey retired the first 11 Dodgers before Matt Kemp singled and Juan Pierre doubled him home Matt Kemp with the first run of the game in the fifth.
Kershaw suddenly lost command in the bottom of the inning, allowing a leadoff walk, then throwing a sacrifice bunt into center field. A second walk loaded the bases before the young pitcher speared a sharply hit ball and turned it into a 1-2-3 double play, then retired Hunter on a pop to short.
"The kid grew up in a hurry," said Torre. "I told [pitching coach Rick Honeycutt], he got himself into the mess, he'll have to get himself out. From there on out, he was pretty much dominant. He's 21. I was still drooling at 21." An exaggeration, of course, but their are quite a number of pitchers his age or older in the College World Series in Omaha.
In a near duplication of their fifth inning run, Kemp beat out a bunt, was sacrificed to second by Brad Ausmus and then scored on Pierre's second double of the game. Pierre made an ill-advised decision to stretch the hit into a triple and was nailed at third before Furcal rifled a single to right that would have given the dodgers a second run in the inning.
Kershaw left after seven and Los Angeles added two more runs in the he eighth on a disputed two-run home run by Loney. Blake and Andre Etheir led off the inning with singles but Russell Martin hit into a double play before Loney smashed a long shot that hit just above the scoreboard and bounced back onto the field.
Angeles Manager Mike Scioscia protested that the ball was in play and after viewing the replay, the home run call was affirmed and the Dodgers took what looked like a comfortable 4-0 lead.
Ramon Troncoso retired the first two Angels in the bottom of the inning but allowed a walk and a single to center field by Mike Napoli, who had the first two hits allowed by Kershaw in the second and fourth inning.
Brent Leach was called to pitch to Kendry Morales and he bounced a routine ground ball to Blake and he sidearmed the ball on one hop to first. The ball hit the grass and skidded under Loney's glove as a run scored. Broxton came in to walk the bases loaded before he ended the inning with a strikeout,
A one-out single by Pierre, his third hit of the game, and a pair of infield hits, one by Furcal and the second by Blake, gave the Dodgers their fifth run of the game.
Broxton, who pitched the second game of the series after sitting out with an infected toe, had allowed only 13 hits in 34 innings previously and had a microscopic 0.88 earned run average when he struck out Figgins to open the ninth.
Bobby Abreu, who had struck out, bounced out and hit into the crucial double play in the fifth, rifled a shot past Broxton and into center field and Hunter drove a long shot to the wall in center that Kemp got a glove on but could not hold to score Abreu.
Vlad Guerrero bounced to the mound but Juan Rivera singled sharply to knock in the Angels third run and suddenly the tying run was at the plate. Appropriately enough, Blake threw out Napoli to end the game and Broxton had his 17th save.
"I thought he was terrific. That's a huge game," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of Kershaw. "Two games ago, it was the worst game this year and the last two have been really, very good. He used a lot of off-speed today. I thought he mixed it up really well. This ballclub is tough to not get good swings, but he did a good job."
The Dodgers out-hit the Angels 12-8, and were 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Pierre collected three of them plus a pair of RBI and made a solid statement that he should still be playing when Manny Ramirez returns for his suspension. Furcal, Blake, Ethier and Kemp had a pair each and Loney had the big two-run home run, his second of the series. His two-RBI gives him a team-leading 47.
The win puts the Dodgers a season-high 22 games above .500 after hitting .320 in the three game, inter-city rivalry and beat Jered Weaver and John Lackey in the process.
The Dodgers, off today, open Tuesday night in Chicago against the White Sox and Hiroki Kuroda will be looking for the form that gave him an opening-day win, his only victory of the season.
Kuroda (1-3, 3.86 ERA) has made four starts since then, after being sidelined for almost two months with a strained oblique muscle, and has been inconsistent. He shut down the Phillies over six shutout innings but allowed Texas and Oakland nine runs in 11.1 innings in his other two outings.
Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, as well as manager Joe Torre, just think Kuroda's trying too hard. "When he's at his best, he has movement down in the zone," said Honeycutt. "When he leaves pitches up, he gets hit. It comes from wanting to do too much. I think it's normal. He wants to do so well. But when he tries to throw harder, he loses the movement and he gets in trouble."
The Dodgers will face LHP John Danks (5-5, 4.48 ERA) who pitched seven innings against the Cubs in his last start and allowed one run on five hits while striking out nine and walking none. Danks threw 99 pitches and 71 of them were strikes.
Score by Innings Los Angeles 000 010 121-5 Angels 000 000 012-3 Los Angles ab r h bi ave Pierre lf 5 1 3 2 .337 Furcal ss 5 0 2 0 .249 Hudson 2b 5 0 0 0 .309 Blake 3b 4 1 2 1 .300 Ethier rf 5 0 2 0 .268 Martin dh 1 0 0 0 .248 Loney 1b 4 1 1 2 .279 Kemp cf 4 2 2 0 .318 Ausmus c 2 0 0 0 .302 --------------------------------- Totals 35 5 12 5 Angles 35 3 8 2 Error- Blake (5). 2B- Pierre 2 (14). Hr- Loney (4). RBI- Pierre 2 (24), Loney 2 (47), Blake (44). S- Ausmus 2. LOB- Los Angeles 9, Angels 12. SB- Pierre (17). DP- Kershaw, Ausmus and Loney. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Kershaw (4-5) 7.0 4 0-0 4 5 3.76 Troncoso 0.2 1 1-0 1 0 2.20 Leach 0.0 0 0-0 0 0 3.38 Broxton 1.1 3 2-2 1 2 2.29 WP- Kershaw. T- 3:11. Att- 43,891.Dodger Blue Notes-- The win was Clayton Kershaw's first since May 27 and a measure of his effectiveness is the fact that he went into the game allowing opposing hitters a .217 average, third in the National League. He lowered his ERA to 3.76. ...The Dodgers haven't lost a series since losing to the Angels in Dodger Stadium May 22-24. They are a Major League best 25-16 since Ramirez checked out of the Hotel California. ...The Dodgers had lost 13 of the last 19 against the Angels and since 2005 were 3-11 in Anaheim. ...Matt Kemp has warmed up with the weather and his hitting .355 (22-62) in June. He must be the best-hitting #8 hitter in all of baseball.