Free-agent find Chan Ho Park continued his stunning work, allowing four hits over six innings, and he now has allowed only a run and seven hits over 11 innings since being inserted into the rotation.
After opening the year in the Minor Leagues, the 33-year-old Korean made his third start and second in place of the injured Brad Penny. In the three starts, he's 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA.
Park, who is overall 3-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 22 appearances, said it had been "maybe five or six years" since he has pitched as well as he has this season.
He left the Dodgers after the 2001 season and signed a $60 million contract with the Rangers but since has been beset by injuries. After struggling with Texas, San Diego and the New York Mets, even he is not certain what caused his renaissance.
"A little bit of everything," said Park, who had a 75-49 mark for the Dodgers from 1997-2001. "A little better mechanics, a better mentality. Better family support. Better city? Better teammates? I don't know. I had some injuries. When you're healthy, it's easier to trust yourself."
Russell Martin banged an early home run and eventually scored three runs in the win. Andre Ethier's three run home run in the seventh put the game in the books and was the first time L.A. has a pair of home runs in one game since June 7.
Brian Falkenborg (using only six pitches), Jonathan Broxton (who hit 99 on his first four pitches of the eighth inning) and Takashi Saito (who threw 11 pitches, nine of them strikes) joined the fun and were even tougher on the Angels than Park, retiring the final nine batters in order. The four pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.
The Angels had won five of their first six games on their interleague road trip and arrived with a 4½-game lead in the American League West. The victory was only the Dodgers' third in their last 12 games in the Freeway Series, including losing two of three in Anaheim earlier this season. The Angels lead the all-time series 37-29.
Ethier knows the significance of beating the Angels. "Waking up this morning, you know these guys are coming and it makes a midseason game a little more important than the rest of them.
"Every game of the season means a lot, but it's nice to face rivals like the Giants and Angels that bring in more intensity because of the geographical element."
It was the Dodgers' second shutout in three games after Eric Stults pitched one against the White Sox, who were also leading their division. Combined with Clayton Kershaw's effort between the shutouts, L.A. starters have allowed only two runs over the past three games.
"We've had some great pitching and tonight we worked it out," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "We need to win four or five games in a row, I think, just to get our confidence. We're certainly a lot better than our (37-42) record tells us we are."
After Martin slugged his eighth homer in the first inning, an error by helped the Dodgers add two more runs in the fifth. Matt Kemp led off with a single and shortstop Erick Aybar's throw to second on an attempted force play on a Martin grounder misfired to move the runners to second and third. Kent followed with a sacrifice fly, then Loney singled in the third run.
The Angels got a runner as far as third base twice against Park, in the first and sixth, but he pitched out of trouble both times. He retired 16 of the last 18 batters he faced.
Saunders gave up only two earned runs over five innings, but he was out-pitched by Park.
"He's the old Chan Ho right now," Martin said. "He has his velocity up to 94-95. He's really sneaky with his fastball because of his short-armed delivery. His breaking pitches have a lot of bite to them and he's been aggressive getting ahead of hitters."
The Dodgers moved up to to 37-42 and within 2 1/2 of the Snakes (two in the loss column), the closest they have been since May 30. Arizona is now leading the division at 40-40. "It's surprising because we haven't been playing good baseball," Martin said. "If we can start playing more like this we'll be all right."
The Dodgers are 4-9 thus far in Interleague action with three games remaining on the Interleague docket.And they are 89-100 in Interleague play since its inception in 1997.
This afternoon Jered Weaver (7-7, 4.56 ERA), who has won his first three career starts against the Dodgers, posting a 2.08 ERA, will face Chad Billingsley (6-7, 3.64) who is looking for his third straight win for the second time in his Dodger career.
Billingsley lasted five innings and gave up three runs on Sunday in a 108-pitch outing while defeating Cleveland 4-3 and improved to 1-2 with a 5.33 ERA in five interleague career starts. The right-hander's only start against the Angels came on July 2, 2006, when he yielded four runs in six innings of a 4-0 loss in Anaheim.
Score by Innings Angels 000 000 000-0 Dodgers 100 020 30x-5 Dodgers ab r h bi ave Pierre lf 5 0 2 0 .281 Kemp cf 5 1 1 0 .290 Martin c 3 3 2 1 .313 Kent 2b 2 0 1 1 .253 Maza pr-2b 0 1 0 0 .236 Loney 1b 3 0 1 1 .306 LaRoche 3b 4 0 0 0 .231 Young rf 2 0 1 0 .284 Ethier rf 1 1 1 3 .279 Berroa ss 4 0 1 0 .185 Park p 1 0 0 0 .000 Sweeney ph 1 0 0 0 .100 Falkenborg p 0 0 0 0 .000 Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Stults ph 1 0 0 0 .167 Saito p 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 32 6 10 6 Angles 30 0 4 0 Error- Kent (6). 2B- Berroa (2). HR- Matin (8), Ethier (7). RBI- Martin (37). Kent (34), Loney (40), Ethier 3 (32). S- Park. SF- Kent. LOB- Dodgers 8, Angles 3. SB- Martin (7), Pierre 2 (34). DP- Berroa, Kent and Loney. Dodgers in h r-er bb so era Park (3-2) 6.0 4 0-0 0 7 2.52 Falkenborg 1.0 0 0-0 0 1 0.00 Broxton 1.0 0 0-0 0 3 3.58 Saito 1.0 0 0-0 0 3 2.48 T- 2:42. Att- 80,419.Injury Bug Hits Howell Too
Bullpen coach Kenny Howell has been out with an undisclosed illness, adding his name to the list of the Dodgers walking wounded. But that may be coming to and end. Jim Slaton, pitching coach for Las Vegas, was called up to fill in until Howell's return, which is expected next homestand.
Joe Torre said infielders Rafael Furcal (back) and Nomar Garciaparra (left calf) and outfielder Andruw Jones (right knee) will report to Las Vegas on Monday to begin Minor League rehabilitation assignments. Furcal and Garciaparra could be activated as early as next weekend, while Jones, who had knee surgery May 27, has targeted the resumption of play after the break for his return.
Disabled starters Brad Penny and Hiroki Kuroda are tentatively scheduled to throw today, Kuroda possibly to a hitter or two, although he's been slowed lately by a stiff neck unrelated to the sore right shoulder that put him on the disabled list. Penny threw on flat ground Friday.
Jason Schmidt restarts his assignment for Las Vegas Saturday night after a four-week break. He's now into the second year of his recovery from career-threatening right shoulder surgery.
Garciaparra (55 games), Furcal (46 games) and Jones (31) have missed a combined 132 games with their current injuries, crippling an offense that was not the most robust in the league even before they were sidelined. Without Furcal the Dodgers are 18-28.
Jones said that his leg feels stronger now than it has all season and admitted the knee has bothered him for years, but the pain intensified during Spring Training and never let up until he had the cartilage repaired.
"I thought I could play through it," Jones said. "You tell yourself you can, and sometimes you can for the whole year. But it really bothered me. I had no balance with my back leg and then I got into some really bad habits with my swing. Now I'm strong again. I want to prove to myself I can still do what I've always been doing and the fans want to see me do what they've heard I can do."
An MRI revealed no structural damage to the right elbow of disabled reliever Scott Proctor, who has tendinitis and will be shut down for 10 days before he starts tossing.
Dodger Blue Notes
Jerry Reuss threw out the first pitch in honor of his no-hitter against the Giants 28 years ago when he defeated San Francisco 8-0 at Candlestick Park on June 27, 1980. Only a first-inning error prevented the left-hander from hurling a perfect game. Reuss won 220 games in 22 Major League seasons, including 86 victories in nine seasons with the Dodgers (1979-87).