Angels lose 6th straight, 5-3 to Dodgers in 10 on Ethier's second homer in 3 innings



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LOS ANGELES — The sputtering Angels are in their worst funk of the season, and the Dodgers didn't do anything to help them out of it.

Andre Ethier hit a two-run homer in the 10th against rookie Drew Rucinski — two innings after his equally dramatic solo shot off Joe Smith — and the Angels dropped a 5-3 decision that completed the Dodgers' second-ever three-game sweep in the Freeway Series.

The loss was the Angels' season-worst sixth straight and ninth in 10 games, following a 17-3 stretch that matched the best 20-game span in franchise history, and they're four games behind first-place Houston in the AL West. The Angels, swept by the Astros in three games to open the road swing, finished their first winless trip of six or more games since 1999 (0-7).

"We're the same team that was winning baseball games a week ago," catcher Chris Iannetta said. "It's a rough stretch. We're not pleased with it, we're not happy about it. But there is nothing we can do about the last 10 days. All we've got to do is focus on tomorrow and try to get a win. One win turns into two, and then we're back in it. We're still in this race. It's a long way from over."

Rucinski (0-2) walked Adrian Gonzalez with one out in the 10th before Ethier hit the right-hander's 1-1 changeup into the Angels' bullpen in right field for his 12th homer of the season and the Dodgers' NL-leading 131st.

"I was trying to get ahead in the count, got to 1-1 and just made a mistake with my pitch," Rucinski said.

The Dodgers' victory put them a season-high 15 games over .500 (60-45) and increased their lead in the NL West to 2 1/2 games over the San Francisco Giants, who lost 2-1 at Texas.

Right-hander Cory Rasmus, one of seven Angels pitchers, made a spot start due to an elbow injury to C.J. Wilson that may end the veteran lefty's season. Rasmus threw 50 pitches over three innings, allowing two runs and three hits.

"Our guys played hard all through the series — all through Houston, too," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Obviously, we're up against it when you're going with a staff day against a lineup like the Dodgers have. But for the most part, whoever was in their just pitched their hearts out and kept us in the game."

Two of the hits off Rasmus were by Howie Kendrick. He hit an opposite-field double off the fence in right-center his first time up, and opened the scoring in the third with his ninth homer of the season after a two-out infield single by Jimmy Rollins. Kendrick, who spent his nine previous big league seasons with the Angels, also homered in the series opener.

"Cory was terrific," Scioscia said. "Just the one fastball to Howie, and he drove it out to center field. Outside of that, you couldn't ask much more from the way he pitched."

Mat Latos yielded a run and four hits over six innings in his Dodgers debut and departed with a 2-1 lead, three days he was acquired from the Miami Marlins in a three-team, 13-player trade involving the Atlanta Braves.

But Jim Johnson — also pitching his first game with the club after coming over in the same deal — gave up a tying homer by Kole Calhoun with one out in the eighth.

Ethier, batting cleanup for the fourth time this season, regained the lead in the bottom half with a towering drive to center field on Smith's 3-1 pitch — the first home run allowed by the right-hander in 43 innings this season.

But in the ninth, with Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen unavailable because of his combined 50 pitches in the first two games of the series, Pedro Baez (4-2) gave up a first-pitch RBI double by Iannetta over the head of center fielder Joc Pederson after pinch-hitter Shane Victorino led off the inning with a single against J.P. Howell.

"We're never going to stop battling, we're never going to stop fighting," Iannetta said. "We think we're going to win every day, and that's just the nature of being a professional baseball player."

The Angels got only one runner as far as third base through the first five innings against Latos. They got on the board in the sixth with a broken-bat RBI single by Albert Pujols.

UP NEXT

Angels: Garrett Richards opposes reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series with Cleveland. Richards, coming off back-to-back defeats to Minnesota and Houston, hasn't lost three consecutive starts since joining the rotation for good on July 27, 2013.

Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (7-6), obtained from Atlanta before the non-waiver trading deadline, will become the 30th pitcher used by the club this season and the 16th to start a game for them when they begin a three-game set against the Phillies on Tuesday night.

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