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Dodgers end Freeway Series on high note

Dodgers end Freeway Series on high note

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ANAHEIM -- Through six relievers, including closer Jonathan Broxton in a non-save situation, the Dodgers averted a Freeway Series season sweep for the Angels Thursday night with a 10-6 win at Angel Stadium.

The win also saved the Dodgers from dropping their seventh in a row overall. It likely did not, however, save Charlie Haeger's position on the roster.

  • 134 wins
  • 118 wins

With Chad Billingsley's return from the disabled list looming on Monday, Haeger allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings, struggling most after the Dodgers put up a five-spot on Angels starter Scott Kazmir in the top of the fourth inning.

"I have no idea, it's not my job to make those decisions," Haeger said of his future.

"I don't know," manager Joe Torre said. "We have to see what our needs are."

Rafael Furcal's two-run bases-loaded double keyed the fourth, which saw the Dodgers bat around. Every starting position player not named Matt Kemp had an RBI, and five Dodgers finished with multiple hits. Casey Blake was 3-for-5 and Jamey Carroll, spelling left-hander Blake DeWitt against the southpaw Kazmir, was 3-for-6.

But going into a three-game series with the Yankees on Friday, nothing about Thursday night felt secure for the Dodgers. Not even the lighting.

The first-base side of Angel Stadium's lighting bank almost completely turned off with one out in the top of the seventh, after the Dodgers had scored twice in the frame to go up, 8-4. The players were cleared from the field, and it took 18 minutes before Torre and Mike Scioscia convened with the umpires at home plate. They kept going, and the lights never came back, but it wasn't a drastic change.

"Mike said, 'Hell, that's the way we played in the Minor Leagues," Torre said. "When we were out in the dugout it seemed darker, but when we were out in the middle of the field it was OK."

"It felt like the Minor Leagues," the Angels' Torii Hunter said. "Or Texas. It always feels dark in that park for some reason. We kind of get spoiled with the bright lights."

The pitching was more unstable. Staked to a 5-1 lead in the top of the fourth, Haeger gave one run right back in the bottom of the inning on a home run to Mike Napoli, and he struck out the first two batters he faced in the fifth before a single and a walk meant a hook. The Dodgers' first reliever, Ramon Troncoso, let both runners in, cutting the lead to two.

The Dodgers added two runs in each the seventh and eighth innings and entered the ninth with a 10-4 lead. Facing the top of the Angels' lineup, Justin Miller couldn't record an out in his second inning of work and let up a single and an RBI double before George Sherrill came on. Sherrill's first pitch whizzed by his thigh for another run-scoring hit, a single to center for Bobby Abreu, and in a non-save situation, Torre turned to Broxton.

Broxton blew away Hunter on three pitches and Abreu took second because of defensive indifference. For the second out, in some sort of karmic justice for Wednesday night's Dodgers ninth -- or in another display of over-aggressive, perhaps ill-advised baserunning -- Abreu was thrown out at third base on a ball in the dirt that caromed perfectly from the backstop to catcher Russell Martin.

"We caught a break there," Martin said. "It was a freakish play, bounced right back to me and I just made the throw. That never happens. Maybe it's the silver lining after yesterday."

It wasn't the Angels' first mistake, or Martin's first putout of the night. He threw out two would-be basestealers in the first inning: Abreu at second base for the second out, and Hunter at third for the last. The Angels threatened, too, in the sixth inning, but winning pitcher Jeff Weaver caught the Angels with a fake-to-third, throw-to-first move that ended up retiring the runner on third base, Reggie Willits, 1-4-5-3-2-5.

"I think we got lucky on that pickoff play, there were a lot more throws in that thing than I wanted to see," Torre said.

Carroll, too, made a bizarre baserunning mistake, thinking he was called out at second base on a force play in the fourth when second-base umpire Bill Welke, standing right in front of him, had ruled him safe.

"He just didn't hear the umpire," Torre said.

Haeger was at 102 pitches when Torre pulled him with just one out to go before he could have qualified for his first win of the season, and the lead at that time was still 5-1. Haeger wanted the chance to make it through five having struck out the first two batters in the frame.

"Yeah, of course [I felt I could keep going], I felt like I had it pretty good that inning," he said. "My slider felt good tonight. It's Joe's decision, even if I don't agree with it."

"I had just made up my mind we could stretch out our bullpen a little bit," Torre said. "I certainly didn't want him going into the middle of the lineup. That was the big thing."

Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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