ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Dodgers had a rare opportunity to practically bury their regional rivals and have the playoffs all to themselves in Southern California, but they left the Los Angeles Angels with a faint pulse when they headed north out of Orange County.
The Angels averted the season sweep of the interleague series with a 3-2 win Wednesday night in stultifying conditions at Angel Stadium. The Angels are 3.5 games behind the Texas Rangers for the second wild-card spot in the American League. The Dodgers remain 8.5 games ahead of the San Francisco Giants in the National League West.
How it happened: Garrett Richards was just a little too much to handle with a mid- to upper-90s fastball and a sharp slider, but the Dodgers hung in there and tied the game at 2-2 in the eighth. Chase Utley had a clutch two-out double to drive in Joc Pederson. The Angels, desperate to preserve their postseason hopes, scored in the bottom of the eighth. Kole Calhoun had a leadoff double against Luis Avilan and Andre Ethier made a costly error, allowing Calhoun to take third. He scored on Albert Pujols' dribbler past a drawn-in infield up the middle.
Richards struck out 11 Dodgers in eight innings. The Dodgers scored on Scott Schebler's leadoff home run to center and then went dormant until the eighth. In the sixth, Justin Turner got a good swing on a Richards pitch and sent it soaring toward the wall in right-center field, but Mike Trout caught it on the warning track.
The Dodgers knew this one was going to be an uphill climb after their original starting pitcher, Mat Latos, was scratched with neck stiffness and they had to insert Joe Wieland into the rotation for a spot start. Wieland did a solid job, but lasted only four innings. The Dodgers' bullpen kept them in the game. Yimi Garcia pitched two scoreless innings. The Angels scored when Erick Aybar and David Freese hit back-to-back doubles in the second and when Taylor Featherston led off with a triple in the third and scored on a sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers were in danger of stranding Pederson at third after he got there with one out after Richards struck out Schebler on an impressive curveball, but Utley sliced a double to left despite being behind in the count.
What it means: It doesn't mean much, because the San Francisco Giants lost in Arizona. The Dodgers' magic number to clinch the NL West is now 15 with 23 games left. The Dodgers lost a game to the New York Mets in their quest to lock up home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They're still two games ahead of New York.
Notable: Trout, in a slump since the start of August, wore high socks in an abrupt wardrobe departure. ... Schebler has shown some nice pop and impressed the Dodgers with his readiness for this level, but he got a bit of a lesson in the speed of the major league game. Schebler picked up the ball in a lackadaisical fashion, probably assuming Featherston wouldn't try for a triple on a ball hit to left. He was wrong. ... Corey Seager, the Dodgers' brilliant 21-year-old infield prospect, made two errors in one inning Tuesday and also is showing some growing pains. He got picked off first base after leading off with a sharp single in the fifth inning. He tried to get back in standing up and first baseman C.J. Cron kept the tag on as Seager lifted his foot a couple of inches. The umpires didn't catch it until they looked at the replay -- at the urging of Mike Scioscia.
Up next: The Dodgers are off Thursday before beginning a three-game series in Arizona Friday night.