Angels 5, Dodgers 4

The Dodgers and Angels both were 80-82 last season, the first

time the Southern California rivals finished with identical records

since the Angels opened for business in 1961.

And both have much to atone for once things start for real

Thursday.

Top prospect Mike Trout hit a tying RBI single in the ninth and

Hank Conger delivered the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly,

helping the Angels beat the Dodgers 5-4 Monday night in the opener

of the preseason Freeway Series and saddling Don Mattingly with a

loss in his first game at Dodger Stadium as a big league

manager.

Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton, looking for his first save this

spring, was charged with a pair of unearned runs in the loss.

Matt Trumbo started the winning rally with a one-out single and

Alexei Amarista followed with a potential game-ending double-play

grounder toward the middle that went under DeJesus’ glove, putting

runners at the corners. Mike Trout followed with a hit-and-run

single that drove in Trumbo, and Conger flied out to center after a

walk to Andrew Romine, scoring Amarista.

”These kids might be a little nervous out there, but in the

last inning it was good to see them do the things they can do,”

manager Mike Scioscia said. ”There was a great at-bat by Mike

Trout, Alexei Amarista made some things happen, and they kept

playing baseball.”

Hisanori Takahashi got the win with an inning of two-hit relief

and Ryan Brasier got the final two outs for the save. The

left-hander has allowed just one earned run this spring in 13

innings.

”I like the fact that he has the confidence to throw any pitch

in any count,” Conger said. ”That’s what makes him so

effective.”

Andre Ethier drove in the Dodgers’ first run with a first-inning

double off Ervin Santana. Ethier is in the final season of a

two-year, $15.25 million contract that will pay him 9.25 million

this season. And the way he’s talking, the Dodgers might have a

difficult time re-signing him next winter because of the

uncertainty of the team’s payroll and subsequent ownership in the

wake of owner Frank McCourt’s divorce from wife Jamie.

”This is my sixth one, and who knows? It might be my last one

here with the Dodgers. You never know. A lot of signs are pointing

that way, so we’ll have to see,” Ethier said. ”Six years for a

Dodger is a long time, in the era that we’re living in. So I’m

going to cherish every moment I can, enjoy the season and try to

make it my best one.”

Santana threw 52 of his 69 pitches for strikes in his sixth and

final spring start, allowing two runs and three hits with five

strikeouts. He finished his exhibition duties 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA,

and will make his season debut is Saturday at Kansas City.

Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly threw 80 pitches, allowing two

runs, four hits and five walks over four innings in his final

spring tuneup for his regular-season debut on Saturday against the

World Series champion Giants. He struck out four and finished his

spring slate 1-1 with a 6.19 ERA in four starts.

Dodgers reserve outfielder Jay Gibbons will be seeing his fourth

eye specialist Tuesday in an attempt to correct some blurred

vision, which has limited him to 16 at-bats and four hits this

spring.

Last December, about a month after the club re-signed him to a

one-year contract for the major league minimum of $400,000 and a

cost-of-living adjustment, Gibbons underwent PRK surgery on his

left eye. He was told it was safer than Lasik surgery, which he had

about seven years ago.

”I’m growing less optimistic by the minute,” said Gibbons, who

will be fitted for new contact lenses that won’t keep popping out

and moving around. ”I’m better than 20-20 in each eye. The problem

is that they’re not working together, which is throwing me off –

balance-wise and depth-wise. So that’s what we’re dealing with. It

was an overcorrection from my surgery in December. So I’m

nearsighted on one eye and farsighted in the other. So essentially,

my vision’s gotten worse after the surgery.”

Notes: Nothing is official yet, but Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley

reportedly is close to signing a three-year, $30 million contract

extension. He signed a one-year, $6.275-million contract in

January, avoiding arbitration.