ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - After Dan Haren bedeviled the Los Angeles Angels for eight innings, they had Kole Calhoun in scoring position and the heart of their high-priced order coming up in the ninth.
Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton all failed to get it done against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Haren pitched three-hit ball into the eighth, and Matt Kemp homered in the Dodgers’ 2-1 victory over the Angels on Wednesday night.
Erick Aybar singled and scored in the eighth for the Angels, who missed a chance to move within one game of major league-leading Oakland in the AL West.
Hank Conger’s one-out single in the sixth was the Angels’ first hit against Haren, the former Angels right-hander.
“With a guy like him, you kind of disregard his past starts,” said Conger, who caught Haren several times when they were teammates. “Because any day he could step on the mound and do what he did tonight. He’s been an elite pitcher for a long time.”
Haren (9-9) retired the Angels’ first 16 batters in his best start since June for the NL leaders, who improved the majors’ best road record to 35-23 by beating the majors’ best home team.
“I tried almost everything, and it finally started working a little bit,” Haren said.
He had lost his last five starts with a 10.03 ERA, leaving him despondent after games, but he was dominant at the stadium where he played from 2010-12.
Haren’s bullpen also helped him out - particularly his closer.
Calhoun singled and stole second leading off the ninth, but Kenley Jansen struck out Trout, got Pujols on a fly to center, and struck out Hamilton to wrap up his 32nd save.
“Jansen made good pitches when he needed to against three of our best hitters,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We didn’t do nearly what we needed to do to support Matty Shoemaker. I thought he gave us a good chance to win.”
Shoemaker (9-4) yielded six hits and struck out five over six solid innings for the Angels.
Andre Ethier had an RBI double in the second inning as the Freeway Series moved down the I-5 to Anaheim after the clubs split the first two games in Chavez Ravine.
Haren left in the eighth after giving up a single to Aybar, who scored on Chris Iannetta’s long fly off Brandon League.