LOS ANGELES (AP) — Even on a night when Clayton Kershaw looked positively human, the Los Angeles Dodgers concocted a way to win.
Juan Uribe scored on David Freese’s errant throw to the plate in the ninth inning, and the Dodgers evened the Freeway Series with a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.
Kershaw recovered from a rocky start to pitch seven innings of seven-hit ball, but he gave up three early runs to the Angels’ resourceful lineup. The two-time Cy Young winner didn’t get a win for just the second time in 12 starts since May.
“It was a struggle at first, (and) I really don’t know why,” Kershaw said. “I was just missing. They’re a great team, and they’re going to hit mistakes. And sometimes they’re going to hit pitches that aren’t mistakes.”
Kershaw still left with a chance for his major league-leading 14th victory until Albert Pujols drove a tying homer into the left-field bullpen against Brian Wilson in the eighth.
Uribe hit an early three-run homer for the NL-leading Dodgers. He then singled against Kevin Jepsen (0-1) and eventually scored from third on Andre Ethier’s grounder off a low curveball.
“It’s all about putting a good, quality swing on the ball,” Ethier said.
Freese was charged with his second throwing error of the night when Chris Iannetta couldn’t hang on to the ball for the Angels (67-45), who dropped two games behind Oakland in the AL West.
“The ball just didn’t have enough pace on it for David to get it and make a throw in one motion,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “On the defensive end, we hurt ourselves. Against a good club, we’ve got to play a clean game, especially against a guy like Clayton Kershaw.”
Pujols and Iannetta had RBI doubles for the Angels, who made three errors and got just one hit after the third inning.
Hector Santiago yielded five hits and three walks while pitching into the sixth.
Kenley Jansen (2-3) struck out the side in the ninth.
The Dodgers went ahead on an unearned run without a hit in the sixth. Matt Kemp reached on Freese’s first throwing error and eventually scored on Scott Van Slyke’s fly.
STAR VS STAR:
Mike Trout went 2 for 3 while facing Kershaw in the regular season for the first time in the Southern California stars’ careers.
“I love watching a guy like that,” said Trout, who has a 20-game hitting streak in interleague play. “It’s pretty cool facing him.”
Trout beat out an infield single in the first inning, and he laced a double down the line on the first pitch of the third. Kershaw, who hadn’t pitched against the Angels since 2011, struck out Trout on three pitches in the fifth.
“I’m not going to talk about individual at-bats,” Kershaw said. “I mean, he’s a great hitter and he got two hits tonight, so tip your cap.”
Pujols’ eighth-inning homer was his 513th, passing Eddie Mathews and Ernie Banks for 21st place in baseball history. The shot was his first since July 9, ending a 21-game drought.
Angels: Left-hander Tyler Skaggs is resting his strained left forearm before the team decides on a rehabilitation plan.
Dodgers: Reliever Paco Rodriguez went on the disabled list with a strained shoulder, and the Dodgers recalled Pedro Baez from Triple-A Albuquerque.
Angels: Matt Shoemaker (9-3, 4.09 ERA) takes the mound when the Freeway Series shifts to Anaheim. The surprising right-hander has won four of five starts.
Dodgers: Dan Haren (8-9, 4.76 ERA) pitched for the Angels from 2010-12, but hasn’t faced them since 2007.