Dodgers beat Angels for second straight night

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- One night after the craziness, some normalcy returned to the Freeway Series.
And that included Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp actually looking potent in the batter's box rather than consistently feebly fanning at pitches in the dirt.
Kemp produced a double to left field and a towering shot to center cut down by the thick Dodger Stadium air, both signs he might be climbing out of the worst slump of his career.
Just as important for Kemp and the Los Angeles Dodgers, they beat the red-hot Los Angeles Angels for a second straight night, 3-0, behind a brilliant complete-game pitching performance by Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Ryu struck out seven while limiting the Angels to just two hits and at one point retired 19 batters in a row. It was the fifth MLB shutout thrown by a South Korea-born pitcher and first since Chan Ho Park on June 2, 2006.
"I think my body was in good condition, which is usually the case here at home," Ryu said. "But today more so than other home games."
It was the Dodgers' first two-hitter since Clayton Kershaw two-hit the Tigers on June 20, 2011 in a 4-0 win at Dodger Stadium.
"He threw the ball well," Angels' first baseman Albert Pujols said. "He didn't make too many mistakes, kept the ball down and he kept us off balance."
It was the first time the Angels have seen Ryu in a regular-season game, although they did see him last spring.
"But that's not the same," Pujols said.
Once Ryu established his fastball command, he was able to mix in some breaking and off-speed pitches. The Angels could never figure out the pattern, and soon the advantage was all Ryu's.
"We couldn't make him uncomfortable out there," Pujols said. "He was cruising all night long."
Said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly: "Pretty special tonight. He pitched really good against these guys in spring. You don't know if that's just spring training, or what it was, but obviously sharp tonight. He really gave us just what we needed."
The Dodgers gave him three runs in support, the big blow coming from Luis Cruz, who had a two-run home run in the fifth inning off Angels' starter Joe Blanton.
"I felt like I made one kind of mistake," Blanton said. "It was almost where I wanted it, a sinker in that kind of stayed there and didn't sink. I started it right where I wanted, it just didn't do what it was supposed to do. Just sort of flattened out."
Meanwhile, A.J. Ellis added an RBI single in the sixth to score Kemp, who doubled to get things going.
Kemp left the game in the ninth inning after getting hit by a pitch by Blanton on the right elbow, telling Mattingly he couldn't throw the ball due to numbing in the elbow.
The Angels played without Josh Hamilton, who was a late scratch after tweaking his back in batting practice. There was no additional word on his condition after the game.
The Dodgers have now won two straight and will try to win their third straight series over the next two nights in Anaheim.
Blanton, whose battling to keep his spot in the rotation, has strung together two solid performances, and while he didn't get the win Tuesday, he may have solidified his spot by going seven innings and allowing just three runs on seven hits.
"Joe's hopefully turned the corner off his rough start," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's pitched strong baseball for us the last couple outings. He's made some adjustments and we're going to need him moving forward."
NOTES: Struggling Kemp was moved to the five-hole in the batting order after batting most of the year in the three-hole. Kemp came into Tuesday's game against the Angels batting .253 with two home runs and 17 RBIs after 186 at-bats after striking out four times Monday. Kemp accepted the move. "I've been giving away a lot of at-bats. I haven't really been helping my team too much," Kemp said. "So I can't be mad at him for moving me fifth. Fifth ain't bad. There are some (RBI) in the five-hole." ... Longtime Angels team orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum, a pioneer in sports medicine, passed away Saturday after a long battle with liver cancer. "The Angels family and Major League Baseball have lost one of baseball's finest gentlemen and truly outstanding professionals with the passing of Dr. Lewis Yocum earlier this weekend," the team said in a statement. "His talents extended the careers of countless professional athletes and provided extended quality of life for so many others he advised, treated and operated on during his distinguished career." ... Dodgers INF Nick Punto, who took a nasty fall while trying to complete a double play Monday, had the day off Tuesday with general soreness. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Punto was available to play if needed.

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