Van Slyke leads Dodgers past Angels 7-5 in rivalry series
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) After a game featuring 12 runs, 14 relievers, 23 runners left on base, 27 hits and nearly four hours of baseball, the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers finally staggered back to their clubhouse with another win.
''That was definitely a September game,'' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
And with their ever-expanding NL West lead, the Dodgers can nearly look ahead to October.
Scott Van Slyke had four hits and drove in four runs, and Zack Greinke pitched six innings of seven-hit ball before the Dodgers' bullpen hung on for a marathon 7-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.
Pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano had a two-run double as the Dodgers opened the Freeway Series with their seventh straight victory over their Orange County rivals. The Dodgers have won 12 of 14 overall to take a commanding 8 1/2-game lead over slumping San Francisco in the NL West.
''We've been playing really good, and we already have a lead,'' Greinke said. ''So if we continue playing like we are now, everything is going to be good.''
Although Greinke (16-3) saw his majors-best ERA rise to 1.68 after giving up homers to C.J. Cron and Kole Calhoun, the right-hander still earned his 11th win in 13 starts.
After he left, things went a bit haywire: The Dodgers used four relievers in the seventh alone while yielding two runs. Kenley Jansen then gave up Calhoun's infield single leading off the ninth, but struck out Mike Trout and Albert Pujols on the way to his 30th save.
''It was a really long game,'' said Joc Pederson, who matched his career high with three hits. ''It felt like a winter ball game, especially with the pitching changes.''
Greinke was fairly effective against his former team, only to watch while six Dodgers relievers barely survived. The Dodgers pounded out 16 hits, but stranded 15 runners.
Greinke allowed multiple homers for the second time in four starts. Cron hit his 11th homer in the second inning, and Calhoun evened it at 3-3 with his 22nd homer in the bottom of the fifth.
Pujols had three hits for the Angels, who had won four of five. Trout went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts.
Ruggiano drove in two runs on the first pitch after Jose Alvarez replaced Angels starter Nick Tropeano in the fifth. Tropeano yielded eight hits and three runs in a spot start for Matt Shoemaker, who has forearm tightness.
''It just makes every pitch that much more important,'' Tropeano said of facing Greinke. ''When you're going up against a great pitcher like that, every pitch counts, so you've got to execute early and get people out.''
The Dodgers got three singles in the sixth against Fernando Salas (3-2) before Adrian Gonzalez drove in Van Slyke with the tiebreaking run on a long fly to center.
Van Slyke had the most prolific offensive game of his career, even if two of those hits and three RBIs came on high-bouncing infield grounders that weren't played sharply by the Angels.
He got a two-run double when reliever Trevor Gott deflected a seventh-inning chopper with his glove into left field. On his RBI single in the eighth, three fielders couldn't make a play on his high chopper off the plate.
''For sure, that's the first time a two-RBI double bounced off a pitcher's glove, but that's baseball,'' Angels second baseman Taylor Featherston said. ''The average person doesn't understand what it's like to have a ball coming at you and not try to catch it and let your shortstop take it. Maybe he'll learn from that situation next time and bring the arm down.''
Dodgers: C Yasmani Grandal was scratched with a sore left shoulder. He will have an MRI while sitting out for a few games. ... SS Jimmy Rollins sat out with a jammed finger on his right hand. X-rays were negative, Mattingly said.
Angels: Pujols had an MRI on his sore right foot, but played anyway. ... Shoemaker's arm feels better, but he isn't certain when he'll return to the rotation.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-6, 2.18 ERA) completes the 1-2 punch. The reigning NL MVP has a 0.90 ERA and seven wins in his last 10 starts.
Angels: Rookie LHP Andrew Heaney (6-2, 3.18 ERA) makes his 14th start of an impressive season.