Thursday, June 20, 2024

Dodgers hammer Angels for 10th consecutive win in Freeway Series

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LOS ANGELES — If the Angels head into the All-Star break with any confusion over how they should approach the looming trade deadline, the Dodgers did their best to convince them of a direction.

Depleted by injury, the Angels looked nothing like a team capable of making a second-half push as they were swatted aside 10-5 by the Dodgers Saturday afternoon.

Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, J.D. Martinez, Max Muncy and David Peralta each hit a home run. In the two-game series with the Angels, the Dodgers’ four All-Stars (Betts, Freeman, Martinez and Will Smith) hit eight home runs.

Betts’ homer led off the game for the Dodgers Saturday. It was his 10th leadoff home run this season, a franchise record, and 46th of his career, tied with Jimmy Rollins for seventh most all-time.

Shohei Ohtani did his usual solo star turn for the Angels, belting his 32nd home run of the season along with his sixth triple. Both totals lead the majors. Ohtani also had a single, drove in three of the Angels’ runs and finished one hit short of matching his 2019 cycle for the sixth time this season.

The Dodgers never looked back after the latest jump start from Betts. The win completed their second mini-sweep of their neighbors this season. The Dodgers have now beaten the Angels 10 consecutive times dating back to August 2021, winning those 10 matchups by a combined score of 60-17.

Never have the two teams seemed farther apart than this weekend.

The Dodgers reached the break with a four-game winning streak, five in their past six games, and sit a mere half-game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West.

The Angels, meanwhile, are spiraling in the wrong direction. They lost their season-high fifth consecutive game and haven’t even held the lead at the end of any single inning during the losing streak. Nine losses in their last 10 games have dropped them below .500 (45-46) for the first time since April 24 (11-12).

Injuries to Mike Trout, Brandon Drury, Zach Neto, Logan O’Hoppe, Gio Urshela and Anthony Rendon have reduced the Angels to the literal version of what they annually seem unable to evolve above – Ohtani surrounded by players striving to be replacement-level.

The Angels couldn’t get out of their own way in a five-run second inning that essentially decided matters.

After Muncy led off the inning with his homer, the Dodgers put runners at the corners with one out thanks to a hit batter (one of three by Detmers) and a squibbed single by James Outman.

Having seen enough of one Dodgers All-Star, Angels manager Phil Nevin opted to intentionally walk Betts, loading the bases for another Dodgers All-Star. Freeman ruined the strategy with a slicing two-run double to left field where Luis Rengifo had replaced Jo Adell after Adell injured his oblique during his first at-bat of the game.

It was just Rengifo’s 30th game in the outfield during his career and he made that obvious when another Dodgers All-Star, Will Smith, singled to left, driving in two more runs. Rengifo’s throw was majestic as it sailed high over home plate and to the backstop.

Freeman added a solo home run in the fourth inning, his third consecutive game with a home run. But he hit first base awkwardly trying to beat out an infield single in the fifth and left the game early.

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