ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – After the cumulative disaster of his last five starts, Dan Haren didn’t spare a thought for his potential perfect game when he took the mound in the sixth inning.
“I’ve just been trying to have a perfect inning,” Haren said.
Haren and Kenley Jansen got close enough in a resilient win for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Haren pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning, and Matt Kemp homered in the Dodgers’ 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.
Haren (9-9) retired the Angels’ first 16 batters in his best start since June for the NL leaders, who improved the majors’ best road record to 35-23 by beating the majors’ best home team.
“I tried almost everything, and it finally started working a little bit,” Haren said.
He had lost his last five starts with a 10.03 ERA, leaving him despondent after games, but the former Angels right-hander was dominant at the stadium where he played from 2010-12.
“It was nice to take him out of a game with a smile on his face instead of feeling like he let everybody down,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Haren’s bullpen also helped him out — particularly his closer.
Kole Calhoun singled and stole second leading off the ninth, but Jansen struck out Mike Trout, got Albert Pujols on a fly to center and struck out Josh Hamilton to wrap up his 32nd save.
“Jansen made good pitches when he needed to against three of our best hitters,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
“We didn’t do nearly what we needed to do to support Matty Shoemaker. I thought he gave us a good chance to win.”
Shoemaker (9-4) yielded six hits and struck out five over six solid innings for the Angels.
Andre Ethier had an RBI double in the second inning as the Freeway Series moved down the I-5 to Anaheim after the clubs split the first two games in Chavez Ravine.
Erick Aybar singled and scored in the eighth for the Angels, who missed a chance to move within one game of major league-leading Oakland in the AL West.
Hank Conger’s one-out single in the sixth was the Angels’ first hit.
Padres 5, Twins 4 (10)
In Minneapolis, center fielder Alexi Amarista made a game-saving catch in the bottom of the ninth inning, and Seth Smith followed with a solo homer in the 10th to lift San Diego over Minnesota.
Amarista ran backward on a dead sprint and laid out for a brilliant diving catch of a drive off the bat of Eduardo Escobar with two on and two outs to keep the game tied.
Smith had two hits and two RBIs. Joaquin Benoit picked up his fourth save in five tries.
Mariners 7, Braves 3
In Seattle, Chris Young reached his first double-digit win total in a season since 2006 and the Mariners sent Atlanta to a season-high eighth straight loss.
It is the first time since May 2012 that the Braves, who were swept at Dodger Stadium and San Diego before losing two straight at Safeco Field, have lost eight in a row.
Rangers 3, White Sox 1
In Chicago, Adam Rosales homered twice in a game for the first time in his career and Nick Tepesch pitched scoreless ball into the sixth inning, leading Texas over Chris Sale and the White Sox.
Rays 7, Athletics 3
In Oakland, Kevin Kiermaier hit a two-run homer to help Jeremy Hellickson end a six-start winless stretch for his first victory in 11 months, and Tampa Bay avoided a sweep against the Athletics.
Yankees 5, Tigers 1
In New York, Chris Capuano outpitched Justin Verlander, and Brian McCann and Chase Headley homered to send the Yankees past Detroit.
New York improved to 2-1 in these three straight games started for Detroit by AL Cy Young Award winners. The Yankees edged Max Scherzer on Monday, then David Price got a no-decision Tuesday in a game the Tigers won in the 12th.
Blue Jays 5, Orioles 1
In Toronto, Drew Hutchison came within one out of his second career complete game, Jose Bautista homered and drove in three runs, and the Blue Jays topped Baltimore to snap a four-game losing streak.
Toronto’s Munenori Kawasaki was 2-for-4 with a run scored.