Dodgers beat Angels with 3-run sixth
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have seen what Aaron Harang can do on a mound. Now they want him to do to other opponents what he used to do to them while with the San Diego Padres.
Harang held the Angels to one hit over four scoreless innings in his final outing of the spring and Justin Sellers hit a go-ahead RBI single during a three-run sixth, leading the Dodgers to a 4-1 victory on Tuesday night.
Harang, who signed a two-year, $12 million contract on Dec. 8, finished his exhibition slate 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA. The 11-year right-hander was 14-7 with a career-best 3.64 ERA last season. He is scheduled to make his official Dodgers debut Sunday in San Diego against his former teammates.
In Harang's only regular-season start at Dodger Stadium, he pitched six innings of no-hit ball for the Padres on July 10. In his final start with San Diego, Harang beat the Dodgers 3-0 and retired 21 of his final 22 batters.
"I'm happy with how things have gone," Harang said. "I felt really confident and I worked on the pitches I need to work on to get sharp and make sure I was ready. It was nice to get on a real stadium mound in a tuneup game and get the feel of your home mound before you actually make your first start.
"It felt more like a regular-season game."
Angel Sanchez (1-0) got the win, allowing a run and a hit over two innings. Non-roster invitee Scott Rice escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, retiring Alexi Amarista on a grounder to first base. Shawn Tolleson got three outs for the save.
Angels right-hander Ervin Santana worked in and out of trouble for five innings, allowing a run and six hits on 72 pitches. He struck out five and walked one. He finished spring training 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA, and will make his season debut Sunday against Kansas City.
Santana was 11-12 last season with a 3.38 ERA and threw a career-high 228 2-3 innings in 33 starts, including a no-hitter at Cleveland. He worked at least seven innings in 12 of his final 16 outings.
"He pitched much better last year than his record indicates. And right now he's pitching much like we've seen him when he's been top of his game. He's exactly where he needs to be," manager Mike Scioscia said.
The score was tied 1-1 on bases-loaded sacrifice flies by Matt Kemp in the Dodgers' fifth and Albert Pujols in the Angels' sixth. The Dodgers took the lead with three runs in the sixth as Hisanori Takahashi (0-1) gave up Sellers' run-scoring single and a two-run single by Matt Treanor. Sellers entered in the fifth as a pinch-runner for A.J. Ellis, who was hit by a pitch from Santana just above the left elbow. Treanor took over for Ellis behind the plate.
In the Dodgers' third, Harang lined a one-out single through the box -- nearly striking Santana on the shoulder. Dee Gordon followed with a grounder up the middle that could have been an inning-ending double play had the ball not gone under shortstop Erick Aybar's glove for an error as he reached the bag. But Mark Ellis lined out to center field and Kemp struck out.
"When Ervin has the opportunity to get a strikeout, it's going to help him get out of some of those jams," Scioscia said.
After the game, the Angels optioned catcher Hank Conger to Triple-A Salt Lake. Conger, the MVP of the All-Star Futures' game in 2010 at Angel Stadium, batted .285 in 18 games this spring. He was caught in a numbers game behind Wilson and veteran Chris Ianetta, who was acquired from Colorado on Nov. 30.
"Hank needs to catch every day and work some things out," Scioscia said. "Last year he progressed and learned a lot at the major league level. But it's tough to get to a certain point if you're only playing a minimum amount of games at the major league level. So he has to get ready for his opportunity. And when he gets it, he's going to be good."
Sellers and right-hander Josh Lindblom were told after the game by the Dodgers that they have made the opening day roster. Rice and infielders Luis Cruz and Josh Fields will be assigned to the minors, effective Wednesday.
NOTES: The Dodgers announced that the Beach Boys, whose 50th anniversary coincides with that of Dodger Stadium, will perform the National Anthem -- along with a few of their classic hits -- at the home opener. ... Adam Kennedy, the second baseman on the Angels' 2002 world championship team, is beginning his first season with the Dodgers. He will be the 86th player to play with both clubs.