Angels Drop April Fools Day Surprise on Dodgers

Hit hard by the news that ace starter Eric Gagne would be sidelined for an indefinite period with a sprained elbow, the Dodgers gave Anaheim seven runs in the seventh inning to erase a 3-1 L.A. lead in the first game of the annual Freeway Series. The second game is tonight in Dodger Stadium and third games will be in Dodger Stadium.

Gagne injured his elbow Thursday afternoon (see accompanying story) in a one-inning appearance against the Mets in the final spring game in Florida. "My arm was a little stiff and when I threw a curveball, I could feel discomfort and it really got stiff on me. Sometimes you force it a bit when you throw a curve," he said.

He was placed on the disabled list but there is no timetable for his return. Speculation that he was rushed back too soon after his knee injury and that the injury put undue pressure on his arm was discounted by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles built 3-1 lead after Anaheim scored one in the first off starter Odalis Perez. They scored a pair in the third inning when catcher Jason Phillips led off with a single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cesar Izturis. Jason Repko and J.D. Drew followed with back-to-back RBI doubles for a 2-1 Dodgers lead.

An unearned run in the fourth made it 3-1. Vlad Guerrero dropped an easy fly ball in right, and Antonio Perez reached second on the mistake. With two outs, Phillips then doubled to score Perez.

Odalis Perez, making only his second start of the spring because of biceps tendinitis a good one, allowed one run and four hits in 4.1 innings, over 66 pitches. He will start the Dodgers' second game of the season against the Giants.

Duaner Sanchez was victimized by the seven run seventh although only five of the runs were earned. Catcher Paul Bako dropped a throw to the plate on an attempted 1-2-3 double play and then threw wildly on another attempted double play in the deciding inning.

Giovanni Carrara pitched shutout baseball over the final 1.2 innings but the Dodgers couldn't rally from the deficit.

Repko and Phillips had a pair of hits each, including a double, for Los Angeles and pinch-hitter Cody Ross and Drew added doubles.

Dodger Blue Notes--The Dodgers brought extra players to the Freeway Series, including four -- pitcher Steve Schmoll, infielders Joel Guzman and Oscar Robles, and outfielder Cody Ross -- who already had been cut. … With the injury to Gagne, both Buddy Carlyle and Ryan Rupe apparently will start the season in The Show. Carlyle's spring ERA (1.35) is almost four runs lower than Rupe's (5.17), and Rupe has been almost exclusively a starter in his career. Tracy has announced Elmer Dessens will draw the spot start April 8 at Arizona. … Three players who will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list were left behind in Vero Beach to continue their rehab. Right-hander Brad Penny is scheduled to pitch in a game for the first time Sunday in a minor-league intrasquad game, with Ryan Ketchner pitching for the other side. Manager Jim Tracy said the April 19 game against the Brewers is a possible target date for Penny's return because it is the second time the club will need a fifth starter. Penny is also expected to make a minor-league rehab assignment sometime. … Left fielder Jayson Werth continues to experience pain and swelling when he tries to swing a bat. He'll also go on a minor-league rehab, but it can't start until he can swing freely. In the meantime, Ricky Ledee and rookie Jason Repko will share left field in Los Angeles. … Left-hander Wilson Alvarez (shoulder tendinitis) will continue his throwing program, but he has to build up his pitch count only enough to throw an inning or so because the Dodgers have him penciled into the bullpen. Alvarez might also go on a rehab assignment.