Dodgers 10, Angels 5
LOS ANGELES (AP)—With Adrian Beltre, it’s always been about potential.
Now, it’s about results.
The win was the Dodgers’ first since they won two of three against the New York Yankees last weekend, and it also ended their six-game losing streak to the Angels dating to last season.
A player who usually struggles during the first half of the season before finishing strong, the 25-year-old third baseman is hitting .323 with 19 homers and 52 RBIs.
He entered this year with a lifetime batting average of .262 in 5 1/2 big-league seasons with career highs of 23 homers and 85 RBIs.
“He’s putting himself in position obviously for a monster season,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.
“He’s one of the best players in the league right now,” teammate Shawn Green said.
Beltre hit cleanup for the 10th time this season. In his last five games in that spot, he is 11-of-21 with three homers and nine RBIs.
“It feels good to hit fourth,” he said. “Wherever I hit, I’m going to be fine. I don’t care where I hit—third, fourth, fifth, sixth. It doesn’t matter.”
Beltre didn’t mention seventh, where he started the season.
Eligible for free agency at season’s end, Beltre said confidence is the biggest difference for him this year.
“Better mental approach, having a plan,” he added. “When you’re struggling, you try to change little things. I just go to home plate relaxed.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he’s never seen Beltre better.
“He was on about everything we threw to him the whole series and he got two key hits for them today,” Scioscia said.
Kazuhisa Ishii (9-3) won his fourth straight decision, allowing five runs— three earned—in six-plus innings. He entered with an 0-3 record and an 8.25 ERA against the Angels.
Outscored 46-17 during their losing streak including 20-5 by the Angels in the first two games of this series, the Dodgers got six hits and two walks in the fourth to chase Colon.
Jason Grabowski and David Ross drew one-out walks, and Alex Cora and Ishii followed with run-scoring singles. One out later, Cesar Izturis doubled home a run and Green added a RBI single before Beltre homered over the right-field fence, giving the Dodgers an 8-2 lead. Colon left after allowing a double to Juan Encarnacion.
The inning matched the Dodgers’ biggest of the season. They scored seven runs in the fifth on their way to a 14-5 victory at Boston on June 12.
Colon (5-7) allowed eight hits and eight runs in 3 2-3 innings—his shortest outing this season—while losing for the fifth time in six decisions. He was 13-5 with a 2.96 ERA in 23 previous interleague starts.
“Everyone could see that Bart obviously was struggling with some things,” Scioscia said. “His velocity was fine, but his command wasn’t there. He was pitching behind in the count far too often. He had to come back in the zone with fastballs, and they didn’t miss them.”
The Angels loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh against Ishii on a single and two walks. Darren Dreifort relieved and gave up a bases-clearing double to pinch-hitter Tim Salmon before retiring the next three batters.
The Angels scored two unearned runs in the second on Jose Guillen’s run-scoring double off the top of the center-field fence and Adam Kennedy’s two-out, RBI triple. Garret Anderson reached second to start the inning when Encarnacion, after a long run, dropped his fly ball near the right-field line.
Encarnacion opened the bottom of the inning by hitting a 3-1 pitch into theleft-field pavilion for his 12th homer.
The game was played before a sellout crowd of 54,333, raising the total for the three-game series at Dodger Stadium to 161,665. … The Dodgers and Angels play another three-game series next weekend at Anaheim. … Dodgers OF Milton Bradley completed a four-game suspension stemming from his ball-throwing tantrum during a game against Milwaukee on June 1. He’s eligible to play Tuesday night when the Dodgers face San Francisco in the opener of a three-game series, but a sore right shoulder has him day-to-day. … Beltre drove in a career-high six runs July 27, 2000, at Colorado. … Encarnacion’s error was just the Dodgers’ fourth in their last 18 games, and his fourth of the season. He didn’t commit any last year. … Colon has allowed an AL-high 23 homers. … Ishii had two hits in 25 at-bats this season and was 8-for-109 in his careerbefore hitting his RBI single in the fourth.