In the first game of a two-game Freeway Series on Friday night in Anaheim, the Angels and Dodgers rekindled their rivalry in Southern California.

They weren’t the two ships passing in the night.

With a bat and arm arsenal that seems deep and potent enough to make another World Series run, the Dodgers are a frigate sailing toward their ninth National League West crown in ten years.

The Angels are a leaky life raft that has been drifting aimlessly for weeks. Their playoff hopes have been largely dashed by a group of hitters who lead the major leagues in strikeouts—by a lot. They also frequently appear to be incapable of hitting the water if they “fell out of a boat,” as Tommy Lasorda once said of Kurt Bevacqua.

All the Angels had to worry about Friday night was Clayton Kershaw, a three-time National League Cy Young winner and probably the best pitcher in Dodgers history, who was playing without injured centre fielder Mike Trout due to upper-back spams.

They had little hope of success. In addition to dominating the underwhelming Angels, Kershaw came within six outs of pitching a perfect game before settling for eight scoreless innings and a 9-1 triumph in front of a 44,648-strong sellout crowd at Angel Stadium.

The veteran left-hander was not pulled by manager Dave Roberts like he did after Kershaw threw seven perfect innings with 13 strikeouts in his season debut against Minnesota on April 13. Instead, Kershaw retired the first 18 batters and needed only 71 pitches, 54 of which were strikes, to finish seven innings.

However, Kershaw’s attempt to pitch the 24th perfect game in baseball came to an end when Angels shortstop Luis Rengifo crushed a 2-and-1 slider into the left-field corner for a leadoff double in the eighth.

Having improved to 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA in 12 starts, Kershaw, who missed a month of the season due to a lower-back injury, increased his chances of starting Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in Dodger Stadium.

Before the game, Roberts commented, “I haven’t heard yet.” “Hopefully, we will find out soon. Hopefully my phone or Clayton’s phone will ring, and Brian Snitker, the manager of the National League, will announce that he is the starting.

Kershaw, who had an 8-2 record and a 2.31 ERA in 15 career starts versus the Angels, received three outstanding defensive plays to maintain his quest for history.

Before Justin Turner stepped in, Angels leadoff hitter Michael Stefanic appeared to have a ticket for left field with a chopper down the third-base line.

The third baseman for the Dodgers made a lunging backhand grab of the ball before throwing a one-hopper to first base, which Freddie Freeman scooped for the inning’s first out.

A perfectly positioned Dodgers second baseman Hanser Alberto made a lunging, back-hand grab to preserve the perfect game when Angels first baseman Jared Walsh blasted a 103.2 mph line liner into shallow right field with two outs in the fifth inning.

Trea Turner made a sliding catch of Stefanic’s powerful one-hopper across the middle to start the seventh.

The shortstop for the Dodgers stood up and threw precisely to first for the out.

Following a walk by Mookie Betts and singles by Trea Turner, Freeman, and Will Smith off of left-handed Angels pitcher Patrick Sandoval, the Dodgers scored twice in the first inning.

Before Smith reached on an infield single, Sandoval quickly recorded two outs. A mistake was made when Justin Turner’s forceful grounder to third slipped under Villar’s glove.

Alberto then hit a drive to deep right field that was difficult but catchable. Jo Adell attempted to make a leaping backhand catch but was twisted around by the ball. With a two-run triple and a 4-0 advantage for the Dodgers, the ball nicked off both his glove and the wall.

With one out and the bases loaded, Angels reliever Jose Marte walked the Dodgers to start a four-run sixth inning that gave them the victory.

8-0 was reached thanks to Freeman’s sacrifice fly to centre, Smith’s RBI double to left, and Justin Turner’s two-run single to centre.

Content source :

https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-07-15/clayton-kershaw-seven-perfect-innings-dodgers-angels-mlb

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