Angels 9, Dodgers 1
“You know you’re going to lose a game. I don’t care if I give up 10 runs or one run and lose, it’s the same result,” Penny said. “I wasn’t horrible. I was around the plate, but I wasn’t locating as well as I have been in the past.”
Ervin Santana won for the first time in five starts, helping the Angels take the opener of a Freeway Series matchup between first-place teams.
Penny (5-1) was roughed up for eight runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. In his previous eight starts this year, the right-hander allowed a total of eight earned runs.
“I was leaving the ball over the plate a little bit and they got hits off them,” Penny said. “There weren’t really any hard-hit balls. They just went through the holes. It’s a game of inches. I’ve just got to go back out there in five days and go after them.”
Penny came into the game with a major league-best 1.39 ERA. When it was over, it was 2.54. He walked two and struck out two.
The Angels scratched out lone runs in the first, third and fourth before getting five hits in a row off Penny in the sixth. He did not retire a batter in the inning.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Penny was throwing well, “but we manufactured some runs, keep chipping away, then we got some good situational hitting.”
Six Angels drove in runs, including two RBIs each by Hillenbrand and Reggie Willits.
“I thought as a team, we had a great night,” said Willits, who went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .371—the highest among major league rookies. “Against a pitcher of his caliber, you really just try to have good at-bats.”
After the defeat, Dodgers slugger Jeff Kent, who went 0-for-4, voiced his disapproval of interleague games.
“They’re comical. I’ve (complained) about this forever,” he said. “I grew up in this game not playing interleague games. Then all of a sudden, they force-feed it to you. It’s too bad that we’re chasing the dollar instead of the integrity of the game.”
Kent said it was difficult to get motivated because “you don’t know the other team, and there’s no rhythm to the game for the players.”
Santana (3-5) held the Dodgers to a run and six hits over six innings, striking out four and walking three.
The right-hander lost his previous three decisions. He gave up six runs in six innings in his last start, but didn’t get a decision in the Angels’ 7-6 loss at Texas on Sunday.
The Angels chased Penny after an RBI single by Maicer Izturis, Hillenbrand’s run-scoring double and another RBI single by Mike Napoli. Rudy Seanez replaced Penny and gave up Willits’ two-run single for a seven-run Angels lead.
Santana pitched well at Angel Stadium again. He’s 3-1 at home this year with an ERA below 3.00, and 0-4 on the road with an ERA of 7.86. For his career, he’s 22-6 in Anaheim, 9-15 out of town.
The Angels went up 3-1 in the fourth. Penny walked Izturis with one out. He went to third on Hillenbrand’s single and scored on Napoli’s sacrifice fly. Two-out doubles to left-center by Luis Gonzalez and Russell Martin in the fourth pulled the Dodgers to 2-1.
The Angels built a 2-0 lead with runs in the first and third, getting only two hits in the process. Penny walked Willits leading off the game, and Orlando Cabrera followed with an RBI double.
Willits scored again in the third when he singled, stole second, went to third on Cabrera’s grounder and came home on Vladimir Guerrero’s broken-bat grounder.
The Angels are 31-26 against the Dodgers, including 12-3 in the last 15 games in Anaheim. The Dodgers won the series 4-2 last year. … No Dodgers starting pitcher has opened 6-0 since Kazuhisa Ishii in 2002.