LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Dodgers didn't trade for Mookie Betts three years ago to be an infielder. However, his offensive production when starting on the dirt is better than when he's patrolling the outfield.
Betts hit a pair of solo homers and drove in four runs, fellow All-Star Freddie Freeman went deep and the Dodgers beat the Angels for the ninth straight time, 11-4 on Friday night.
Betts made his fourth consecutive start in the Dodgers' infield, mostly because second baseman Miguel Vargas is slumping offensively.
“It doesn’t really matter where I play. The box is the box and defense is defense. They’re two separate things and I keep them that way,” said Betts, pointing out that he was the 2018 AL MVP as a right fielder.
“So that's my argument to that.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “I know Mookie likes being on the dirt. It keeps him more fresh, keeps him involved and keeps him more dynamic.”
J.D. Martinez and Will Smith also homered as the Dodgers pounded out 11 hits.
Betts had his 23rd career game with three extra-base hits, tying Lou Gehrig for the most by a player age 30 or younger since 1900, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
“I think the only comp is (Shohei) Ohtani and what he does is incomparable,” Roberts said, “but if you’re talking about somebody who is doing something that is very unique at a high level, it’s just very rare.”
The Angels intentionally walked Betts in the eighth.
“It’s just pretty cool because it’s been a long time since that’s happened,” he said, smiling.
Angels All-Star Ohtani snapped an 0-for-11 slide with a single in the fourth and later scored.
The Angels' skid is their longest in the Freeway Series. They dropped back to .500 for the 12th time this season at 45-45, with All-Star slugger Mike Trout relegated to spectator while wearing a cast on his broken left wrist.
Tony Gonsolin (5-3) retired his first nine batters of the game before Ohtani ripped a single down the right-field line leading off the fourth. Taylor Ward followed by reaching on an infield single before Mickey Moniak’s three-run homer pulled the Angels to 4-3. Moniak's blast ended 21 consecutive scoreless innings for the Angels against the Dodgers this season.
Gonsolin allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings of his longest outing of the season. He struck out five and walked one.
Betts homered leading off the fifth against reliever Tyler Anderson, reaching 25 homers for the fifth time in his career and the most in the first half of a season in his career. The ball ricocheted off the first row of the lower left-field seats and into the Dodgers' bullpen.
Betts' two-run double into the left-field corner with two outs in the sixth extended the Dodgers' lead to 7-3.
The Dodgers tacked on four runs in the eighth off Tyler Loup. Miguel Rojas had a RBI double, Freeman grounded into a fielder's choice and Rojas scored on shortstop Andrew Velazquez's throwing error. Smith added a two-run shot with two outs.
Mike Moustakas homered for the Angels leading off the seventh.
The Dodgers raced to a 3-0 lead. Freeman hit his 16th homer on his first pitch in the first, Martinez slugged his 21st homer leading off the second, and Betts went deep on his first pitch in the third. Martinez's RBI double with two outs in the third made it 4-0.
Angels starter Griffin Canning (6-4) gave up four runs, including a career-high three homers, and five hits in 2 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. The right-hander had one walk and no strikeouts.
Angels: 3B Anthony Rendon won't go on the IL as he recovers from fouling a ball off his left shin this week. “He's still pretty sore,” manager Phil Nevin said. “There's some things he can and can't do." ... INF Brandon Drury (left shoulder contusion) will have more tests due to ongoing soreness.
Dodgers: RHP Noah Syndergaard (finger) pitched a three-inning simulated game. He'll go on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Oklahoma City at some point.
Carlos Estévez is the first Angels reliever to be named to the All-Star team since Jordan Walden in 2011. He is replacing Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase.
Nevin surprised Estévez in front of the team with the announcement. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA and 42 strikeouts. He's converted all 21 save opportunities, fourth-best in the AL.
“You just try to make those moments special,” Nevin said. “It's cool to see the reaction of the guys their first time.”
LHP Reid Detmers (2-5, 3.72) starts for the Angels on Saturday. The Dodgers plan to either start RHP Michael Grove (0-2, 7.02) or use an opener before bringing Grove in.
AP MLB:https://apnews.com/hub/mlb andhttps://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Copyright 2023 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.