Dodgers vs. Angels – Game Recap – July 15, 2022

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Dodgers vs. Angels - Game Recap - July 15, 2022

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Clayton Kershaw’s throwing distances sizzled early on, and the Los Angeles Angels hit early, often and usually awkwardly. Behind their longtime ace, the Los Angeles Dodgers put up one stunning defensive game after another.

As he retired the first 21 Angels in order, Kershaw allowed himself to admit that everything pointed to his first perfect game.

“I really had a feeling it could happen,” Kershaw said with a smile.

Luis Rengifo’s one-two from eighth ended the dream, but it did little to dampen another spectacular night for the Dodgers’ beloved left-hander.

Kershaw ended his latest gem in a playing career with eight scoreless innings with one-hit ball in the Dodgers’ 9-1 win over the Angels on Friday night.

After mowing down the Angels seven innings, Kershaw (7-2) was six outs short of his first perfect game and second in Dodgers franchise history when Rengifo put down a clean left hit on a well-thrown low slider.

“I really wanted to do it,” Kershaw said. “I think it would have been great fun for everyone involved.”

But Kershaw shrugged, withdrew three more Angels and got the last of several standing ovations from a sold-out crowd of 44,648 at the Big A, where a huge contingent of blue-clad fans roared for Kershaw’s Every Out.

“To be honest, I probably should have given up four or five goals,” said Kershaw. “The defense played incredibly tonight and they went head-to-head with some guys. It was a funny evening.”

Kershaw, 34, was selected to his ninth All-Star team earlier this month and is a strong sentimental contender to start the Midsummer Classic at Dodger Stadium.

If anyone is still doubting his All-Star worthiness after just 12 starts this season, Kershaw has once again shown he’s a master craft on the hill that can dominate major league players. The three-time Cy Young Award winner hit six and made 11 swings and errors while throwing just 89 pitches – none faster than 92.5 mph.

“Obviously he’s still one of the best in the game,” said catcher Austin Barnes. “He puts the ball where he wants it. They were swinging early which helps him. After the third or four incredible (defensive) games, I thought it was going to happen. But it’s tough. That doesn’t happen often.”

Kershaw threw the only no-hitter of his career in 2014 against Colorado. Sandy Koufax threw the only perfect game in Dodgers history on September 9, 1965. There have only been 23 perfect games in major league history.

Justin Turner had three hits, drove in four carries and also made the first of three spectacular defensive plays through the Dodgers’ infield to keep Kershaw’s perfect game intact. Will Smith went 4 for 4 with a walk while Hanser Alberto had a two-run triple in the fifth inning as the Dodgers rolled toward the All-Star break with 13 wins in 15 games.

Turner, Alberto and Trea Turner all made excellent plays on grounders in a four-inning span to maintain Kershaw’s perfection.

“It was a classic Kershaw performance,” said Justin Turner. “There’s a point in the middle of the game where you know what’s going on and we had a really good feeling about that. That was dominance right there.”

Brandon Marsh hit Reyes Moronta in ninth for the Angels, who opened the second half of the annual Freeway Series with their 11th loss in 13 games. Mike Trout was sidelined for a third straight game after suffering upper back spasms on Tuesday and the rest of the Angels failed to break through.

“He’s a future Hall of Famer and he had his best stuff tonight working against a team that didn’t swing the bats very well,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said of Kershaw. “You could tell from the start that he had a couple of pitches that really worked for him.”

Patrick Sandoval (3-5) had seven hits and two earned runs while not going through the fifth inning for the Angels.

TWICE THIS YEAR

Kershaw flirted with history in his first start of the season, throwing seven perfect innings with 13 strikeouts on April 13 in Minnesota. Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts pulled Kershaw from that start with the left-hander’s reluctant approval.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kershaw is the only pitcher in the post-1961 expansion era to have pitched seven innings more than once in a season.

WITHOUT TROUT

Trout intends to play in the All-Star Game on Saturday and Tuesday. He said he canceled that game “to make sure it was completely gone.”

“Still didn’t feel a little right,” Trout added. “I feel like the treatment went well today and (I will) be there tomorrow. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow but my intention is to play tomorrow.”

FREEMAN’S HOME

Freddie Freeman played his first game at Angel Stadium since his rookie season. The longtime Atlanta slugger hails from Orange County, grew up 10 minutes from the Big A and attended countless games here as a kid.

Freeman has continued his phenomenal streak at the plate since he was knocked out of the NL All-Star Team for driving an RBI single in the Dodgers’ first heat. The bat hit base for a stunning 18th time in his last 21 plate appearances with the first inning hit.

TRAINING ROOM

Dodgers: LHP Andrew Heaney is likely to make a rehab start Saturday. He has served once for LA since April due to a shoulder problem.

Engel: RHP Jimmy Herget will begin a rehab stint after the All-Star break. He has been out since June 22 due to an impingement in his right shoulder.

NEXT

Julio Urías (7-6, 3.01 ERA) is attempting to beat the Angels for the first time in his third career attempt. Jose Suarez (1-3, 4.79) meets the Dodgers for the first time in his major league career.

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