ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani’s latest big homer kicked off a five-run rally for the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning. With plenty of gutsy relief pitching, they managed to make that lead stand up for the whole game.
The Dodgers’ profoundly frustrating night got even worse in the ninth inning when Corey Seager came up limping.
Ohtani and Justin Bour homered off Kenta Maeda in the first, and the Angels swept the two-game Freeway Series with a 5-3 victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday night.
Another sellout crowd at the Big A witnessed the conclusion of an uncommonly satisfying two-game set for the Angels, who have hovered below .500 for most of the season while their glamorous LA rivals have been the majors’ best team.
“It was a great game to play in,” Bour said. “A lot of fans came out for that close win last night, and we just rode it on.”
This meeting got interesting early and late.
The Angels jumped on Maeda (7-3) for all of their runs in their first seven batters. After Ohtani homered against a fellow Japanese star for the second time in four days, Bour hit a three-run homer in his first plate appearance following his return from a three-week banishment to the minors.
While the Angels couldn’t score after that, the Dodgers stranded 15 runners and lost Seager to a potentially serious hamstring strain while losing consecutive games for only the second time since April 23-24.
Seager led off the ninth with a single, and he was preparing to round third on Alex Verdugo’s single when he injured his leg. The shortstop pulled up in pain and walked off the field with what was tentatively diagnosed as a “Grade 2-plus” hamstring strain, according to manager Dave Roberts.
“With what he’s done to overcome a couple of surgeries and get into playing shape, you feel real bad for Corey,” Roberts said of Seager, who missed five months of the last regular season and the playoffs following Tommy John surgery.
Seager said he will have an MRI exam Wednesday.
“Just coming around third, it grabbed pretty good,” Seager said. “Just kind of one bad step, I guess.”
Max Muncy hit two homers for the Dodgers, who hadn’t lost a series since April 29-May 1 in San Francisco.
David Freese delivered a pinch-hit homer leading off the eighth inning, but Hansel Robles got five perilous outs for his ninth save.
After Seager left, Robles struck out Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez before getting Russell Martin on a groundout to close the Angels’ third win in four games.
Robles and Ty Buttrey battled through the final three innings, providing a rare evening of satisfaction for the Angels’ up-and-down bullpen.
“I did ask a little bit more (from Buttrey and Robles),” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “But I felt like that’s what we had to do to win the game.”
Three games after Ohtani homered off Seattle’s Yusei Kikuchi, the slugger took Maeda deep to right for his seventh homer. The Angels added Brian Goodwin’s RBI single and a three-run shot by Bour, who returned from Triple-A Salt Lake in style after getting off to a .163 start in his first season with the Angels.
After Cam Bedrosian opened, Félix Peña (4-1) gave up both of Muncy’s homers and six hits over 3 2/3 innings.
Two days after Muncy’s much-discussed homer and a subsequent not-so-friendly chat with San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner, he connected for solo shots in the third and fifth innings, giving him 15 homers this season — 11 on the road.
Although Maeda didn’t yield a hit or a run after the first inning, he lasted just 4 1/3 innings in the pitching-rich Dodgers’ shortest start since May 4. Maeda had given up only six total runs in his past five starts.
Through a translator, Maeda said Ohtani’s homer “was just a solo shot after two outs, so it didn’t really affect me (mentally).”
Dodgers: Lefty reliever Scott Alexander went on the injured list with left forearm inflammation. The club recalled LHP Caleb Ferguson from Triple-A Oklahoma City, and he pitched 1 2/3 innings of two-hit relief.
Angels: OF Justin Upton played his fourth straight minor league game in his comeback from turf toe, which has sidelined him for the entire season. Upton could return during the Angels’ road trip. … SS Andrelton Simmons is nearly ready to face live pitching in his return from a sprained left ankle. He hopes to return this month.
Dodgers: After a day off to attend a charity gala at Dodger Stadium featuring a performance by Bruno Mars, the major league leaders send Clayton Kershaw (5-1, 3.00 ERA) to the mound in Chavez Ravine against the Cubs to open an 11-game homestand.
Angels: After a late-night flight and a day off in Tampa, Tyler Skaggs (4-6, 4.97 ERA) takes the mound in the first of four against the Rays to kick off an 11-game road trip.
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