Heroic Haren! Veteran’s Gem Gives Dodgers Freeway Series Lead


If you try and figure out Baseball, just stop doing it. Because you’ll never be able to predict it, no matter how hard you try. Tonight’s third game of the freeway series is a great example. All signs pointed to a Dodger loss tonight. After all they had a starting pitcher on the mound who had lost his last five starts and had an ERA of over 9.00 in the month of July. The Dodgers hadn’t won in Anaheim in years. Literally. But the Dodgers were able to pull off a little Disney magic tonight. The boys in blue won in exciting fashion by hanging on for a 2-1 win. You could say that the Dodger clubhouse is the happiest place on Earth right now. And watching the Angels lose makes me the happiest man on Earth.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers  2 9 0

Angels     1 5 0





Dan Haren pitched the game of his life tonight by limiting the Halos to just one earned run on three hits over 7.1 effective frames. Haren was hooked after 87 pitches, whiffed four and did not walk anyone. What do they say about pitchers pitching against their former clubs? Well Haren was outstanding tonight as he shut down his former teammates. Haren retired the first 16 Angel hitters before he allowed a single to Hank Conger in the bottom of the sixth. Haren really had his knuckle curve and cutter working tonight. He mixed them beautifully, and stayed away from heavy use of his fastball. He actually looked like a real major league pitcher, for the first time in weeks. Bravo Haren, you deserved this win.

Haren’s mound opponent right hander Matt Shoemaker had to settle down after a rocky beginning. Shoemaker threw six frames, allowing two earned runs on six hits. He whiffed five and walked two.

The Dodgers scored two runs in the top of the second and then played defense the rest of the way. Matt Kemp bombed his fourteenth home run of the season, a solo shot to lead off the inning. Then Crawford singled, stole second and came around to score on an Andre Ethier double.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The game got interesting in the eighth. With the Dodgers up 2-0, and a runner on first with one out, Haren was pulled for left hander J.P. Howell. But Don Mattingly was out maneuvered by Halo’s manager Mike Scioscia countered with right handed hitter C.J. Cron. It worked as Cron doubled Aybar to third. Mattingly pulled Howell to bring in right hander Brandon League. The embattled reliever got Iannetta to fly out to center. Although the sacrifice fly scored Aybar to cut the lead in half. But League got David Freese to ground out and the Dodgers got out of it. Excellent job Brandon!

The game got even more intense in the bottom of the ninth. With the Dodgers still up 2-1, Kenley Allowed a lead-off single to Calhoun, who also stole second. But Kenley battled, whiffing Trout for the first out. He got Pujols to fly out to Puig for the second out. Then Kenley whiffed Josh Hamilton for the last out. The Dodgers win, and take a 2-1 series lead!

Let’s not forget about Puig’s great throw in the sixth inning, that nailed Conger trying to go to third. Here’s how the Dodgers beat the crap out of Mickey and Minny. Read on for the highlights!

The Dodgers come up empty with a runner in scoring position in the top of the first. Gordon leads-off and tries to bunt but pop it up to Hank Conger who barehands and throws him out. Why he couldn’t just make contact normally is beyond me. If he had been on base he would have scored when Yasiel Puig doubled over the third base bag and down the left field line. Adrian Gonzalez’s grounder up the middle looked like it was going to be a hit, but Kendrick makes a diving stop to his right and throws him out. On the play Puig moves to third. But Shoemaker whiffs Hanley and the Dodgers don’t score.

In the Angel’s half of the bottom of the first, Kole Calhoun grounds back to the box. Haren gets Mike Trout to pop out to short. Then Haren gets Albert Pujols to ground back to the box. What do you know? A 123 first inning for Dan Haren. I swear I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes. Hands to god guys.

The Dodgers bust open in the top of the second. Matt Kemp leads-off with a monster home run into the left field seats to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. That’s Kemp’s fourteenth home run of the season. Then Crawford reaches on an infield single. Kendrick makes a nice stop but drops the ball and couldn’t get a throw off. Then Crawford steals second. Andre Ethier’s pulled double down the right field line bounces into the corner and the ball gets stuck underneath the wall. Crawford scores easily to put the Dodgers up 2-0.

Star wars!!!!!!

Turner walks. Then A.J. Ellis moves the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. But Shoemaker recovers to whiff Gordon for the second out. Which leads up to a showdown between Puig and Shoemaker. Puig wins the battle by drawing a walk to load the bases. But Gonzo’s little roller ends the inning.

Haren has a 123 in the bottom of the second. Hamilton a fly ball to left. Erick Aybar flies to center, and Kendrick grounds out to Hanley. Good Inning! The Dodgers go quietly in the top of the third. So do the Angels as Haren retires the side in order in the bottom half of the third. Haren has now retires nine in a row.

Ethier’s leg single leads off the top of the fourth. Turner’s check-swing tapper back to the box should have been a double play, but Aybar was late getting to the second base bag. The throw from Shoemaker was fine, but the second base umpire rules that Aybar came off the bag. The Angels challenge of course and the New York office overturns the original call and Ethier is out. Now with Turner at first and one out, A.J. whiffs. Gordon flies out to Trout to end the inning.

Haren has another 123 frame in the bottom of the fourth. He whiffs Calhoun, then gets Trout to fly out to deep center. Then he whiffs Pujols. That’s 12 in a row now retired by Haren.

In the bottom of the fifth, Hamilton grounds to short. Aybar grounds out to second. And Haren then whiffs Kendrick. That’s 15 in a row for Haren, as we go to the sixth. Dodgers leading 2-0. Shoemaker reaches 100 pitches in the top of the sixth. Crawford’s one-out single is erased when Ethier hits into a double play.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Haren whiffs Navarro for the first out in the bottom of the sixth. Then Conger singles to left to break up the no-hitter and perfect game. Haren’s streak ends at 16 consecutive outs. David Freese pinch-hits for McDonald and singles to center. Conger tries to go to third and Puig fires a laser on a one-hop to Turner to nail Conger at third! What a throw! Chalk up another one for Puig. Sorry Halos, you don’t run on Puig. With two outs now, calhoun’s soft liner to Gonzo ends the inning. Dodgers hang on and still lead 2-0 after six frames.

Right hander Jason Grilli takes over for Shoemaker in the top of the seventh. Turner singles to lead-off. A.J. flies to right. Gordon whiffs as Turner takes second on a wild pitch. Trout races in to make a running catch on Puig’s pop fly.

With bullpen action, Haren takes the mound in the bottom of the seventh. Trout pops out to Gordon. Pujols grounds to third, and Hamilton grounds to second. The score is still 2-0 Dodgers after seven innings.

Right hander Fernando Salas is on to pitch the eighth for the Halos. After Gonzo pops out, Hanley singles to right. Calhoun makes an incredible diving catch on Kemp’s sinking liner to right. Crawford pops out for the third out.

Haren stays out for the bottom of the eighth. The annoying Aybar bunts for a base hit. Then Haren gets Kendrick to fly out to Ethier for the first out. The Dodgers hook Haren after 87 pitches and bring in left hander J.P. Howell. The Halos counter with right handed bat C.J. Cron. Not surprisingly Cron doubles down the left field line. Aybar goes to third and the Dodgers are in trouble. Howell is immediately hooked and Brandon League is brought in. The Dodgers are looking for a double play here.

Chris Iannetta’s sacrifice fly to center scores Aybar to put the Angels on the board. The Dodger lead is now 2-1. Freese grounds out as defensive substitution Miguel Rojas cuts in front of Turner to throw out Freese for the third out. The Dodgers escape with the lead!

Huston Street pitches the top of the ninth. Street allows a Turner single but that’s all. Move to the bottom of the ninth. In comes Kenley Jansen to save it. He’ll have to face the heart of the Angel’s order. Calhoun, Trout, and Pujols.

Calhoun starts the ninth with a single. With Trout at the plate he steals second. After a fierce battle, Kenley whiffs Trout swinging! One out! Pujols flies out to Puig. Calhoun can’t advance. Two outs! Finally Kenley whiffs Hamilton and the Dodgers hang on and win it! Final score of 2-1!

What a great game! The Dodgers improve to 65-50 on the season. The Giants won, so the Dodgers remain 2.5 games up in the NL West.

Tomorrow night the Dodgers will go for the series win during the concluding game. Hyun-jin Ryu will counter C.J. Wilson at 7:05 PM.