The Dodgers split the annual Freeway series with the Anaheim Angels as the rivalry nearly erupted in a bench-emptying brawl with a score of 6 to 2.
By Harrison McQuinn, sports editor
The Dodgers—Angels series concluded with a win for the Blue. The evening included a franchise record set by Joc Pederson, dugouts pouring onto the field, and another solid appearance by Clayton Kershaw.
The rivalry ran deep, both on the field and in the stands, between the SoCal teams over the past few days; including an Anaheim fan being beaten by Dodger fans at their stadium during the series opener.
There were 44,807 fans in attendance on Thursday night to watch Kershaw face the Angels’ JC Ramirez, who has had a tough month for his starts.
The real action did not begin until the top of the 3rd inning when Chase Utley hit a fly ball into the tracks, driving Logan Forsythe home for the first run of the evening.
The Angels answered in the 4th with a lead-off base hit by Cameron Maybin’s. The North Carolina native stole second base on a throwing error, then reached 3rd with the help of Kole Calhoun. Albert Pujols, an Anaheim favorite, connected with a fast ball allowing Maybin to score.
Yasiel Puig quickly recovered the lead for LA with a lead off homer at the top of the fifth. Utley once again showed off his veteran skills knocking another one over the wall. Don’t cue the Warriors 3-1 lead joke quite yet.
The Dodgers got in position for some insurance runs as Justin Turner started off the sixth inning with a single. Cody Bellinger, the potential rookie of the year, then came to the plate and dug a fastball down past the first base line pushing Turner up to third.
Turner, almost at a .400 batting average was on third with Bellinger, the heavy-hitting rookie, on first when Pederson arrived deep in the inning to send the ball out into the crowds. He place himself on top of the Dodger franchise record with this run for most homeruns in a month.
With Dodgers leading 6 to 1, the park became quiet until the bottom of the eighth when the Angels woke up their fans with a Pennington run batted in by Calhoun to chip away at the lead.
Kershaw was retired after the seventh inning, but left with 12 strikeouts nearly earning his first career perfect inning of nine strikes in a row.
The night’s tension peaked at the bottom of the 8th. The Angels managed a man on 1st and 2nd with Pujols returning to the plate.
Morrow fired a pitch a bit inside beaning Pujols, immediately expressing it was an accident. The Angel took it personal.
The Red at plate immediately became enraged and began shouting at the mound as well as at the LA dugout. In an attempt to diffuse the situation, Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal began trying to calm down Pujols.
At this point the dugouts cleared as well as the bullpen. Most likely it was thanks to Grandal that the feud quickly cooled off; only resulting in an umpire warning to both teams.
Luis Valbuena followed Pujols, but struck out with the bases loaded. LA manager Dave Roberts activated Kenley Jansen for the four-out save.
As predicted, Jansen put out the fire as the next batter hit a fly ball to Pederson.
The 9th inning came up empty for both teams and the Dodger closer sealed another victory on the road.