LOS ANGELES — Freeway Series?
What happened Friday night at Dodger Stadium looked more like a traffic alert.
Three players were thrown out at the plate. Two were picked off at first base. Two others were caught stealing.
“This is the most bizarre base-running game I think we’ve seen,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
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So this is what it has come to in Los Angeles: The city’s two former World Series champions playing out the baseball equivalent of a 10-car pileup in a half-empty ballpark.
“It was a circus out there,” Angels pitcher Dan Haren said.
With the 8-3 defeat, the Dodgers fell to nine games under .500, matching their season-worst mark. Manager Don Mattingly said he remains hopeful that his team can have as many wins as losses by the All-Star break. But to do that, a team that hasn’t won more than three consecutive games would have to win 12 of their next 15 games.
The Angels improved to one game under .500 and remained three games back of first-place in a weak division.
The game was messy from the start.
Bobby Abreu drew a two-out walk and stole second base in the top of the first inning. That was followed by a single by Vernon Wells, who took an overly ambitious turn around first base and found himself in a rundown. While the Dodgers were occupied with Wells, Abreu tried to sneak home. He was easily thrown out.
The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom half of the inning on Matt Kemp’s 21st home run of the season.
Alberto Callaspo scored a run for the Angels in the second inning, but barely — he touched home plate an instant before Jeff Mathis was thrown out at third base for the final out. Earlier in the inning, Mark Trumbo was picked off at first base by catcher Dioner Navarro.
In the second, third and fourth innings, the Dodgers had men on third base with fewer than two outs. None of them scored.
Tony Gwynn Jr. was 90 feet from the plate in the second inning — he pinch ran for Marcus Thames, who exited the game with a calf strain — but was thrown out at home when Jamey Carroll hit a grounder to short.
The Dodgers had the bases loaded in the third with one out, but Gwynn struck out, and Navarro grounded out to first.
Carroll led off the fourth inning with a double and reached third on a sacrifice bunt by starting pitcher Rubby De La Rosa. He made a run for the plate on a grounder by Dee Gordon but was thrown out.
The Dodgers finished the night two for 12 with men in scoring position. They left eight men on base.
“We were trying to scratch runs,” Mattingly said. “We just couldn’t do it.”
With the lineup unable to add to the Dodgers’ 2-1 lead, De La Rosa finally buckled in the fifth inning. Maicer Izturis drove in Jeff Mathis from first base to tie the score. Erick Aybar, who was picked off in the third inning, homered in the next at-bat to put the Angels ahead, 4-2.
The Dodgers announced their attendance at 43,640 fans.
The figure was of the number of tickets sold, not of the actual number of fans in the stands. Still, the number was the lowest for a Freeway Series game at Dodger Stadium since 2001.