ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Kenta Maeda finished last season pitching aggressively and effectively out of the Dodgers’ bullpen.
Los Angeles hoped that might carry over in 2018. With the regular season quickly approaching, the club might get its wish.
Maeda went five strong innings in the Dodgers’ 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels, giving up two solo home runs but allowing only two other hits while striking out five.
”I think with Kenta the first couple of years, he was just pacing himself,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. ”But out of the ‘pen where he can really attack, I think that’s given him the confidence that he can dominate and that’s really translated to the starting role.”
Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig each hit a solo home run to support Maeda. Taylor had three hits, including his shot that put the Dodgers up 3-2 in the seventh inning. Puig followed one out later with his third home run in four games.
Both of the Angels’ runs also came on solo shots, with Zack Cozart and Mike Trout giving them an early 2-0 lead.
Cozart’s home run was a team-leading fourth of the spring. He is batting .348.
”We expect him to hit with a lot of men on base,” Scioscia said. ”He’s swung the bat well probably the last 20 at-bats this spring.”
It may be only spring, but Angels second baseman Ian Kinsler had a stolen base he’s likely to remember.
He was at second with two outs after a double in the sixth inning when he looked at the scoreboard and saw Justin Upton had two strikes on him. When Upton swung and missed, Kinsler started walking off, thinking the inning was over.
Only the scoreboard had credited Upton with one strike too many.
Kinsler jogged toward the dugout in the direction of third base. The Dodgers were so stunned, they weren’t sure how to react. Catcher Yasmani Grandal pumped fake a couple throws to third, but Logan Forsythe was too far off the base. Grandal never threw the ball, and a dumfounded Kinsler took his helmet off and looked around confused when he reached third.
”I thought everybody else had it wrong,” he said.
He was credited with a stolen base.
Sunday was the Angels’ first game at home since redesigning the outfield.
The Angels have added larger, brighter scoreboards behind both outfield stands. In the process of significantly increasing the size of their out-of-town scoreboard behind right field wall, they lowered the wall from 18 feet to 8 feet, potentially leading to more homers to right.
”I think just visually it looks awesome out there with the new scoreboards,” right fielder Kole Calhoun said. ”It’s going to be pretty cool.
”It’s going to be interesting to see how the ballpark plays now. It’s definitely going to be different, but you adjust and make it your own.”
Puig’s home run would have gone off the wall in the stadium’s previous makeup.
PUIG BATS THIRD
Puig hit at the bottom of the order last season, but with Justin Turner lost to a fractured wrist, he batted third Sunday and could be finding a new temporary home.
”Can I say right now that he is going to hit third every day? Absolutely not,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. ”But I think that I will give him a little bit of a runway to show that he deserves that opportunity.”
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill is scheduled to start Monday when the Freeway Series switches to Dodger Stadium.
Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker is set to make his final spring start Monday.
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