LOS ANGELES – Trayce Thompson had his first multi-home run game of his career, but it was not enough as the Los Angeles Dodgers dropped the first game of their four-game Freeway Series with the Angels, 7-6, on Monday night at Chavez Ravine.
Thompson homered in the fourth and eighth innings, giving him four on the home stand and a team-high six on the season. In his last 40 at-bats, Thompson is batting .345 with five home runs, two doubles and 12 RBI.
"Trayce is doing a lot of good things. He's got a bright future," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said. "There's definitely going to be more playing time for him in the future."
However, the Halos picked apart the Dodgers' pitching in the third and seventh innings scoring four and three runs in those frames, respectively.
The Angels dealt the Dodgers a "death by a thousand cuts," as four RBI singles and a sac fly scored all their runs in the game.
Gregorio Petit, Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols all had RBI singles for the Angels who have now won four straight on the road after they were swept by St. Louis in Anaheim last week.
After the Dodgers staked an early 2-0 lead thanks to RBI singles by Carl Crawford and Kenta Maeda in the second inning, the Angels scored four in the top half of the third thanks to singles by Petit, Yunel Escobar, Trout and Pujols.
"The key to not letting Trout and Pujols beat you is not letting the guys in front of them get on base," Roberts said of the Angels No. 3 and No. 4 hitters. "They had guys on base all night long. When they had two runners on base, I'm not going to load the bases to pitch to Albert who has 600 home runs. We kept them in the ballpark, but its tough to pitch to those guys when runners are on base."
All four runs came off Maeda (3-3) who had his worst outing of the season. The Japanese right-hander allowed four runs on five hits with five strikeouts in four innings (his shortest start of the season).
"Doc explained to me the reason why I was getting taken out," Maeda said of his short start. "I was relying to heavily on my offspeed pitches and I will make adjustments for my next start. I want to be able to do the job of a starting pitcher and throw longer innings."
After a 3-0 start with a 0.36 ERA in the first four games of his MLB career, Maeda is 0-3 in his last four starts with an ERA of 5.94.
"I haven't been able to execute my plan," Maeda said through a translator of his last four starts. "I used to be able to get out of jams, but these last four starts that has not been the case."
Thompson cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom half of the fourth inning as baseball's version of the "Splash Brother" took Matt Shoemaker deep for his first dinger of the game.
Shoemaker (2-5) survived the scare, earning his second win of the season, allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts in just five innings of work.
Thompson hit his second homer of the night on a 71 MPH changeup from reliever Mike Morin in the bottom of the eighth inning. The two-run blast landed into the seats in left-center, nearly identical to the landing spot of his first homer.
All said and done, Thompson's Herculean efforts were not enough as the Dodgers dropped the first game of the four-game, home-and-home Freeway Series with the Halos.
Players of the Game:
Trayce Thompson: 2-for-3 with two home runs, 3 RBI and 3 runs scored.
Mike Trout: 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
Albert Pujols: 3-for-4 with three RBI.
1. Injured All-Star: Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez left the game in the bottom of the fifth inning with lower back tightness. He is considered day-to-day.
2. Battle for Los Angeles: With the victory, the Angeles are 59-48 against the Dodgers all-time in the Freeway Series. Before tonight, the Dodgers had won the last four, and had held the Halos to five runs or fewer since May of 2013.
3. At a Snail's Pace: The nine inning game took over four hours to finish, in the longest nine-inning game the Dodgers have played in all season.
Angels (17-21): Jared Weaver looks to lower his 6.10 ERA to start the season in the second game of the Freeway Series.
Dodgers (20-19): Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw is on the mound on Tuesday night as first pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST.