Dodgers 8, Angels 4

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—J.D. Drew’s day off didn’t quite turn out that way.

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ leading home run and RBI man wound up putting in a couple minutes of excellent work Saturday.

Drew’s pinch-hit homer leading off the seventh drove in the go-ahead run, and the streaking Dodgers rallied for an 8-4 victory over the slumping Los Angeles Angels.

“I was enjoying it until I got a chance to contribute,” Drew said of his day off. “I just tried to keep it simple, put a nice easy swing on the ball.”

Drew, batting for winner Joe Beimel, hit a 1-2 pitch from Scot Shields (1-3) into the right-field bullpen to snap a 4-4 tie. It was Drew’s eighth homer of the season and the 150th of his career.

“It was a slider that I left up,” Shields said. “I don’t know if I could have thrown a worse pitch right there. I made a mistake and he made me pay for it, so you’ve got to give him credit. That was the difference in the game.”

Pinch hitting isn’t something Drew is called on to do very often. But he has hit three homers in that role in his career.

“It takes a special guy to do that,” he said. “Your heart’s going a little quicker, you’ve just got to settle down a little bit.”

The Dodgers won for the 11th time in 14 games by scoring seven runs in their final three at-bats. They’re a season-best three games over .500.

“We like our club and we feel like we’re going to like it even more once we see it all together,” manager Grady Little said. “When that will be, I don’t know.”

The Dodgers have eight players on the disabled list.

The loss was the fourth straight and 16th in 21 games for the Angels, who dropped a season-high nine games below .500.

“We’re a better team than we’ve shown the past three weeks,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Pitching and defense have made us contenders, but we’ve had some breakdowns in those areas for the last couple of weeks. It’s safe to say that the club we have right now is not the club that we need out there.”

Beimel (1-0) earned his first big league victory since 2003 by striking out the side in the seventh. Juan Rivera reached first on a wild pitch with two outs while swinging at strike three, but Beimel picked him off first to end the inning.

The Dodgers got three insurance runs off Jason Bulger in the eighth on Russell Martin’s fielder’s choice grounder, a wild pitch and Rafael Furcal’s RBI single—his third hit of the game.

The Angels led 4-1 before Willy Aybar tied it in the sixth by hitting a three-run homer, golfing an 0-2 pitch from Kevin Gregg into the lower right-field seats following leadoff singles by Nomar Garciaparra and Jeff Kent.

“It was a good pitch. He went down and happened to put some good wood on it,” Gregg said. “I have nothing to complain about the pitch at all.”

Little smiled when asked about the improbable homer.

“They’ve got a guy over there playing right field who can hit balls off the ground a long way,” he said, referring to Angels star Vladimir Guerrero. “We’re just trying to even up the score.”

The Angels, pummeled 16-3 by the Dodgers on Friday night, took a 3-0 lead off Brett Tomko in the first on doubles by Adam Kennedy and Rivera and a two-run homer by Dallas McPherson—his first RBIs of the season.

Kenny Lofton singled, took third on a double by Garciaparra and scored on Kent’s grounder in the bottom of the first.

The Angels made it 4-1 in the fourth on a two-out, RBI single by Chone Figgins.

Both starters gave up four runs in six innings. Gregg allowed seven hits while walking one and striking out a career-high seven, while Tomko gave up 10 hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

“It was a battle. I didn’t have my best stuff,” said Tomko, who’s 5-1 with a 3.21 ERA. “The job Aybar’s done filling in for Bill Mueller—that’s what it takes to win.”

Mueller, the Dodgers’ starting third baseman, had surgery on his right knee Monday and is expected to be sidelined at least a month.

Notes

The Angels placed INF Edgardo Alfonzo on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release, and recalled Bulger from Triple-A Salt Lake. … Little said OF Jason Repko, sidelined since spraining his left ankle May 9, will probably be out at least another four weeks. … Angels INF Erick Aybar, Willy’s younger brother, made his first big league start and got his first hits—singles in the fourth and sixth innings. … Willy Aybar’s homer was his first this year and the second of his career. … Little faces a dilemma when C Dioner Navarro (injured right wrist) is ready to come off the disabled list because Martin has played so well in his absence, both offensively and defensively. “As we sit here right now, I don’t know how in the world you ever could,” Little replied when asked if the 23-year-old Martin would return to the minors.

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