LOS ANGELES –- Mat Latos used his first start as a Dodger to give the team six strong innings, leaving with the lead and in line for the win.
Another of the team’s pitching debuts did not go as well, however, and Latos ended up with a no-decision. Andre Ethier saved the bullpen twice, hitting go-ahead and walk-off home runs in the eighth and 10th innings, respectively, to help the Los Angeles Dodgers sweep the Los Angeles Angels with a 5-3 win Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
How it happened: Latos was impressive, avoiding any real trouble or stress through his first five innings. He allowed a leadoff double to Kole Calhoun in the sixth inning, and he eventually scored on a ground out. That was the only run Latos allowed.
The Angels were walking a tightrope with starter Cory Rasmus, who pitched an inning in relief Friday and was good for 50-60 pitches in this game. On his 43rd pitch, Howie Kendrick pushed Rasmus off that rope with a home run to center field that also drove in Jimmy Rollins, who had reached on a single, in the third inning. It was Kendrick’s ninth homer of the season.
Jim Johnson was the other Dodgers pitcher to debut on Sunday, entering in the eighth with Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols looming. Johnson served Calhoun a center-cut fastball and Calhoun popped it over the wall for a game-tying home run. Johnson, who was part of the trade that acquired Alex Wood from the Atlanta Braves, had not allowed a home run since April 18, a span of 41 innings.
That set the stage for Ethier’s eighth-inning shot to center, his 11th of the season. J.P. Howell and Pedro Baez blew the lead in the ninth when Howell gave up a single to Shane Victorino and Baez allowed a double to Chris Iannetta.
In the 12th, Ethier’s line-drive home run crept over the right-field wall for the walk-off win.
What it means: With the San Francisco Giants’ loss in Texas, the Dodgers extended their lead in the National League West to 2½ games. The Dodgers get what should be an easy on-paper test in the Philadelphia Phillies for their next series while the Giants travel to the Braves and Chicago Cubs next.
The Dodgers' bullpen will be well rested for that series in Philadelphia. It has had to cover only five innings in this series, and with an off day Monday, it should be ready to fire. Closer Kenley Jansen also did not pitch Sunday after throwing 50 pitches in his two outings Friday and Saturday.
A second sweep: The Dodgers recorded their first sweep of the Angels since May 19-21, 2006, the only other time the franchise has swept the Angels. Sunday’s win also increases the franchise-best winning streak against the Orange County rivals to six games.
Facing former franchise: Kendrick spent his first nine seasons with the Angels, and in his first series against his former employers, the second baseman went 4-for-13 with two home runs, three RBIs and three runs scored. Kendrick leads the Dodgers with 113 hits and 33 multi-hit games.
Up next: Following a day off Monday, the Dodgers are in Philadelphia on Tuesday, where Wood will make his Dodgers debut after being traded from the Braves as part of a 13-player deal. Wood has a 3.54 ERA and went 7⅓ shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles in his last start with the Braves. The Phillies throw right-hander Jerome Williams, who has a 6.36 ERA.