Dodgers start with 6 hitless innings, but Angels rally
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Ricky Nolasco has pitched nearly 300 major league games, and he's had a good spring. That resume earned the right-hander a prime spot in the Angels rotation.
Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia named Nolasco the Angels' opening day starter after a 3-2 win over the Dodgers in the Freeway Series opener Thursday night.
''There are a number of guys we could have chosen,'' Scioscia said. ''But looking at how he finished last year and how well he's been pitching for us, I think Ricky can handle the opening day hoopla and give us a chance to win.''
The Angels lacked a defined ace, but Nolasco has already made three opening day starts in his 11-year career.
Still, he's 108-103 with a 4.52 ERA. After coming to the Angels in a trade-deadline deal last season, he went 4-6 in 11 starts but with a 3.21 ERA. He went 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA in four spring appearances to earn the opening day honor.
''It would mean a lot to anyone,'' Nolasco said. ''But it's one start in 34. I'll be mentally focused.''
The Angels did not appear focused at the plate early against the Dodgers. Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling and Luis Avilan combined to hold the Angels hitless through six innings.
But they put together three runs on four hits and a walk in the seventh. Yunel Escobar led off with a single against Brandon Morrow, and C.J. Cron later singled in a pair to make it 2-1. Cameron Maybin added an RBI single.
The Dodgers opened the scoring with an unearned run in the third after third baseman Escobar threw away Enrique Hernandez's grounder for a two-base error. Hernandez scored on Andrew Toles' double.
The Dodgers' Austin Barnes smacked a solo homer in the ninth inning.
Angels reliever Blake Parker, a 31-year-old journeyman, struck out the side in the fourth. His last 14 outs have come via strikeout.
Dodgers: Completed their roster for opening day by optioning IF Chris Taylor, OF Trayce Thompson and LHP Julio Urias, and reassigning C Bobby Wilson to the minors. That means Hernandez and OF Scott Van Slyke are the final two players to make the club.
Angels: The rest of the rotation: RHP Matt Shoemaker, RHP Garrett Richards, RHP Jesse Chavez and one yet to be announced. ... LHP Tyler Skaggs, who missed 2015 following elbow surgery and most of last season with a shoulder injury, threw five innings in a Triple-A game against the Giants. He allowed five runs and eight hits, striking out four and walking two. He is expected to be Los Angeles' fourth starter.
The right-hander threw three perfect innings for the Dodgers. Manager Dave Roberts is confident the former Japanese star can improve upon his 16-11 rookie season. Said Roberts: ''Last year was a learning experience for all of us. But I think in his second year he can only get better.''
Huston Street, hoping to reclaim is closer role this spring, instead strained a back muscle (right latissimus dorsi) in his first game and was shut down. He was re-examined Thursday after the Angels returned to Anaheim. Said Scioscia: ''We expect he can pick up a baseball and start throwing in a couple of days.''
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill will try to finish strong following a poor spring in the second game of the Freeway Series on Friday in Anaheim. Hill, who said he never has a good spring, is 0-2 with an 8.03 ERA in five previous games.
Angels: Richards continues his unusual return from an elbow injury. Richards (0-1, 6.48) injured his ulnar collateral ligament, but instead of opting for the traditional Tommy John surgery, had the elbow regenerated using his own stem cells.