Branyan's homer helps Angels down DodgersJul 4, 2011 - 3:45 AM
Branyan's two-run blast was his first since the Angels signed him on May 26, five days after he was released by Arizona.
It also made Ervin Santana (4-8) a winner for the first time in more than a month. His last victory came on May 25, and the right-hander had dropped his last four decisions, primarily because of lack of run support -- Santana didn't give up more than four runs in any of those losses.
But Sunday, he limited the Dodgers to one run in 7 2/3 innings while striking out eight, and the late rally pushed the Angels to the series victory. They also won the season series against their interleague rival, taking four of the six matchups.
Chad Billingsley (7-7) kept the Angels off the scoreboard for six innings, but took the loss after giving up all three runs. He pitched eight innings, allowing three hits, walking two and striking out six.
The Dodgers lost for the fourth time in five games, and did so while struggling to take advantage of scoring opportunities. They went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base.
"We have to find ways to get guys in," said Dodgers outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. "When we don't, that puts pressure on Chad, who kept us in the game all night."
Their only run came in the sixth inning. Rafael Furcal, who was brought off the disabled list Sunday, began the frame with a single and stole second. Two batters later, James Loney smacked a ball to right-center field and speedy Angels centerfielder Peter Bourjos chased after it.
Bourjos dove and nearly caught the ball, but it bounced off the heel of his glove, allowing Furcal to cross the plate.
The Dodgers went on to load the bases, but Santana got A.J. Ellis to groundout to end the threat.
The Angels moved in front an inning later, sparked by Bobby Abreu's leadoff ground-rule double to right. He moved to third when Billingsley threw a wild pitch, and scored on Vernon Wells' groundout to second.
Billingsley hit the next batter, Howie Kendrick, and it came back to haunt him. With two outs, he threw a full-count changeup in the zone and Branyan hammered it to right-center field.
"That one felt good," Branyan said. "I got a pitch I could drive. I just tried to take a nice, easy swing. It was good to be in that situation and come through."
The Angels' pitching staff made the lead hold. Santana was pulled after giving up a two-out double to Loney in the eighth, but Scott Downs came in to get the final out.
Jordan Walden then worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 19th save.
On Sunday, Major League Baseball announced the rosters for the All-Star Game. Angels pitcher Jered Weaver and second baseman Kendrick (reserve) were named to the American League roster...Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp (starter) and pitcher Clayton Kershaw were selected for the National League team...Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier is one of five NL nominees for the Final Vote fan selection...While Furcal came off the DL, the Dodgers placed third baseman Casey Blake on the DL with a cervical strain...The Angels went 13-5 in interleague play this season. The Dodgers were 6-9.
- LOS ANGELES: 1
LOS ANGELES: 3
Jul 3 10:42 PM
- Russell Branyan two-out, two-run Home Run (1) to right center scored Howie Kendrick. Hank Conger due up.
Dodgers 1, Angels 3 Bot 7, 2 OutsJul 3 10:12 PM
- Vernon Wells grounded out second to first scored Bobby Abreu. None on with one out and Howie Kendrick due up.
Dodgers 1, Angels 1 Bot 7, 1 OutJul 3 10:05 PM
- James Loney doubled to right center scored Rafael Furcal. Runner on second with two outs and Aaron Miles due up.
Dodgers 1, Angels 0 Top 6, 2 OutsJul 3 9:36 PM
- LOS ANGELES: 0
LOS ANGELES: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Jul 3 8:10 PM
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