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OC Register: Angels’ Kole Calhoun giveth and taketh away in adventurous game against Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES — In an adventurous season, Kole Calhoun played his most adventurous game Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Calhoun hit a pair of solo home runs against Dodgers starter Walker Buehler to give the Angels an early lead. When his throw home from right field sailed over the head of catcher Jose Briceño, the Dodgers were able to score the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.

The run held up and the Dodgers won 3-2 before an announced crowd of 53,368 at Dodger Stadium.

On a night when Kenley Jansen was unavailable to close, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts turned to right-hander Erik Goeddel in the eighth inning and left-hander Scott Alexander in the ninth.

Alexander had an adventure of his own before locking down his first save as a Dodger. With one out, pinch-hitter Shohei Ohtani lined a double into right-center field. The next batter, Jose Briceño, beat out an infield single.

Rookie David Fletcher, who hit his first career home run a day earlier, was up next. Roberts visited the mound briefly. Fletcher hit the first pitch he saw on the ground to Max Muncy, who threw to Forsythe at second base for the forceout.

Forsythe’s relay to first baseman Cody Bellinger was a bit wide of the bag. But first-base umpire David Rackley ruled that Bellinger tagged out Fletcher before he crossed the base – a dramatic double play to end a close game.

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Calhoun looked lost at the plate before going on the disabled list in June with an oblique injury. He was hitting .145 at the time of the injury, his only home run to that point coming on Opening Day. His two solo blasts Friday were his sixth and seventh home runs in 23 games since.

In the seventh inning, Calhoun all but undid his own damage.

Pinch-hitter Logan Forsythe and outfielder Joc Pederson led off the inning with a single and double, respectively, against Angels pitcher Cam Bedrosian. That put runners at second and third base for Muncy, who delivered a single to right field. Forsythe jogged in with the tying run.

Pederson initially held up after rounding third base. But when he saw Calhoun’s throw sail into the protective netting behind home plate, he trotted home easily with the Dodgers’ third run.

Muncy’s solo home run in the first inning against Angels starter Felix Peña gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead early. The right-hander did not allow another run in four innings, walking three batters and striking out five.

Buehler’s five-inning start was his longest since June 8. The rookie had spent most of the meantime recovering from a rib microfracture. His last major league appearance – a disastrous relief outing against the Chicago Cubs on June 28 – offered little reassurance.

Since then, Buehler had thrown three innings in a minor league rehab game and a five-inning simulated game against teammates. This time he threw 79 pitches over five innings, walking one batter and pitching around every rally the Angels tried to muster.

Four of the Angels’ six hits against Buehler were singles. Base hits by Andrelton Simmons and Mike Trout in the first inning put runners on first and third with one out, but Buehler came back to strike out Justin Upton and Luis Valbuena to end the inning.

With Ian Kinsler on second base and one out in the second inning, Buehler struck out Briceño and got Peña to ground out weakly.

In the third inning, Buehler again struck out Valbuena with two runners on and one out. Kinsler nearly drove in a run with a line drive headed for right field, but Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger dove to his right to snag the baseball on the fly.

The Angels’ only other hits against Buehler were the solo home runs by Calhoun. That was enough to leave Buehler in line for the loss.

Peña danced around plenty of damage in his four innings. After Muncy’s 22nd home run of the season in the second inning, the Dodgers loaded the bases on two walks and a Bellinger double. Peña got Chris Taylor to ground into a double play, ending that inning.

When Chase Utley, a left-handed batter, was announced as a pinch hitter for Buehler in the fifth inning, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia countered by replacing Peña with left-hander Jose Alvarez.

Utley’s single against Alvarez was his first hit against a southpaw since May 9; it came on the same day Utley announced he would retire at the end of the season. Again, the Dodgers could not cash in the leadoff runner on base.

More to come on this story.

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