Figgins hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the eighth inning and saved two runs with a sparkling play at third base, leading the Angels to a 3-1 victory over the Dodgers in their first interleague meeting this season.
Little ball was a big problem for the Halos, who were 2 for 17 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 altogether. Even advancing runners was a chore at times. Erick Aybar(notes) was retired twice on attempted sacrifice bunts that were caught on the fly.
“On the offensive end, that was probably our worst game all year for execution,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We didn’t get bunts down and we didn’t hit with guys in scoring position. So in that respect, we were kind of fortunate.”
Kendry Morales(notes) and Gary Matthews Jr.(notes) opened the eighth with singles against Cory Wade(notes) (0-3). Howie Kendrick(notes) tried to bunt the runners over, but Wade got the force at third. The right-hander then walked pinch-hitter Maicer Izturis(notes) and Figgins followed with his clutch hit to right field.
Darren Oliver(notes) (1-0) allowed one hit over 1 1-3 innings, stranding runners at third base in the sixth and seventh. Jose Arredondo(notes) pitched a perfect eighth and Brian Fuentes(notes) had a 1-2-3 ninth for his 12th save in 14 chances.
The Dodgers, who came in with an NL-leading 232 runs scored, stranded a runner at third base in five of the first seven innings and were 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position.
“There were missed opportunities on both sides. Unfortunately, they broke through and we didn’t,” manager Joe Torre said. “We’re been scuffling offensively. And the longer it goes, the worse it gets because everybody puts pressure on themselves, and each guy is probably trying to do more than they’re capable of doing.”
The defending NL West champs are a major league-worst 20-44 in interleague play since the start of the 2005 season.
The Dodgers tied it in the bottom half on James Loney’s(notes) RBI single, but Casey Blake(notes) was robbed of a potential two-run double later that inning when Figgins made a diving stop of his grounder behind the bag and stepped on third for the force on Loney.
“I’m excited to have that guy over there,” Hunter said. “He’s such an athlete, he can play anywhere. And to make a play like that, you have to be an athlete.”
Hunter, an eight-time Gold Glove winner, made a nice running catch of Russell Martin’s(notes) extra-base bid in left-center with runners at second and third in he first. In the sixth, he made a leaping catch of Blake’s drive about a foot below the top of the fence.
Hunter extended his errorless streak to 200 games dating back to his last miscue on Aug. 31, 2007. It’s the longest current streak among outfielders.
“Defense is kind of a lost art in the game,” Hunter said. “But I’m not really thinking about an errorless streak or anything like that. I just try to play the best defense I can. And if you make errors, you can’t help the team win. I didn’t get any RBIs tonight, but I saved some with the glove, so that’s good.”
Facing the Halos for the first time, the 21-year-old left-hander walked three batters during a 36-pitch first inning and escaped the jam unscathed when Morales grounded into a forceout.
Jered Weaver(notes), coming off a complete-game loss at Texas last Saturday, allowed a run and eight hits over five innings. Bobby Abreu(notes) batted for Weaver with two outs in the sixth and flied out with runners at second and third.
Friday was the sixth anniversary of the day the Disney Co. sold the Angels to Arte Moreno. … The Dodgers placed reserve OF Xavier Paul(notes) on the 15-day disabled list because of a skin infection on his left leg, and promoted OF Jamie Hoffman from Triple-A Albuquerque. Hoffman made his big league debut in the sixth inning as a pinch hitter for reliever Ramon Troncoso(notes) and flied out to left.