"Right now, we're getting whooped," said center fielder Matt Kemp, who was dropped in the batting order to seventh and responded with a home run. "We better fix something."
The Dodgers had a 3-0 lead and Clayton Kershaw throwing a one-hitter through five innings when the Angels struck with a pair of three-run innings: Bobby Abreu tying the game with a three-run blast in the sixth and Kevin Frandsen finishing it off with a two-run double off reliever Ronald Belisario in the seventh. The Dodgers are 13-25 all-time at Angel Stadium.
Kershaw, who leads the National League with 48 walks, got away with two of them leading off the fourth inning because shortstop Jamey Carroll started a key double play on Torii Hunter's sharp grounder.
But a leadoff walk to No. 9 hitter Brandon Wood started Kershaw's trouble in the sixth, followed by Howard Kendrick's single right past Kershaw into center and, one out later, Abreu's blast to center on a fastball, which Kershaw said Abreu was "sitting on." He was right.
"It was a good pitch, a [94 mph] fastball middle in," Abreu said. "I was ready for it and I crushed that one. Good contact. A guy like that, you want to make him work, throw some pitches early in the game. I think we did that."
Kershaw described Abreu's home run as "a game-changer" and "deflating."
"This one we had and I let it get away," said Kershaw, 7-4. "We had a lead and I've got to make it hold up. It's just my fault. Losing five in a row doesn't feel great. This game humbles you fast. Our team has the ability to be good. It's a matter of putting it together, and right now we're not."
In the seventh inning -- which Kershaw said "killed me" -- he allowed a leadoff double to Juan Rivera and balked him to third, but catcher Russell Martin picked Rivera off third base, Martin's second pickoff in a week.
"That's a huge momentum swing," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "They made a great play. But you have to keep playing baseball, and that's what we did. We got some clutch two-out hits."
With two out and none on, Kershaw allowed a single to Jeff Mathis, then Wood bounced a single to right that sent Mathis to third and Kershaw to the dugout. Kendrick greeted Belisario with an RBI single. After missing a bunt attempt early in the at-bat, Frandsen turned on an inside sinker that didn't sink and doubled in the insurance runs.
Torre said Abreu's home run and the sudden loss of a three-run lead can be deflating, as Kershaw said.
"But it's all about how we handle and restore order," Torre said. "Back-to-back three-run innings. Two out and nobody on and they score three runs, that was a backbreaker. If we turn it around, we don't expect anybody to hand it to us. We've got to earn what we get. If we're going to be good enough to win the division and get to the postseason, we have to fight our way out of this."
The Dodgers, after winning their first two Interleague games this year against Detroit, have lost eight straight, including three-game sweeps by the Angels at home and Red Sox at Fenway Park. After losing with Kershaw on Tuesday, the Dodgers have a slumping rookie John Ely pitching Wednesday and winless Charlie Haeger coming off the disabled list Thursday night.
Kershaw came into this game on a 6-1 roll over his previous eight starts and seemed headed to another victory.
"I thought he was throwing the ball as good as he's ever thrown," Martin said.
"I felt very good with the way he was going about it, to be perfectly honest," said Torre. "Even right to the end. Always keep in mind he's still young and still has growing pains. I trust him with the ball. He thinks clear and isn't afraid of the field."
The Dodgers scored a pair of runs off winner Ervin Santana (7-5) in the third inning, triggered by Carroll's single and steal of second, with slumping Andre Ethier getting his first of two hits for one run and James Loney singling in the other. Then Kemp launched his 12th home run, tying Ethier for the club lead.