Trea’s 2 HRs send Dodgers past Angels 7-1 for series sweep

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Los Angeles Dodgers completed a four-game sweep of the Freeway Series on Saturday night and cruised back home from Orange County to begin a well-earned vacation.

That bus ride is only about 35 miles. The distance between the Los Angeles metroplex’s two teams felt closer to 35 light years after the rolling Dodgers wrecked the reeling Angels once again.

Trea Turner hit two homers and drove in three runs, Freddie Freeman got his 1,000th career RBI in his childhood ballpark, and the Dodgers rolled into the All-Star break with a 7-1 victory and a combined 22-3 demolition of their nearest rivals.

Max Muncy hit a three-run homer moments after Turner’s two-run shot in the third inning for the Dodgers, who have won 15 of 17. They’ve won 60 games before the All-Star break for the fifth time in franchise history, and nothing suggests the Dodgers will slow down before October.

“Because we’re good, and we have a lot of good players,” Turner said. “It’s not easy to win night in and night out in this game, but I think we have the roster to do that. It’s on us, but I think we’ve got the talent to do that.”

Freeman hit an RBI milestone with his first career homer at Angel Stadium while the Dodgers finished the first half at 60-30. Thanks to a rare Sunday off from MLB’s schedulers, this victory was also their final game before at least five Dodgers take the field in Chavez Ravine for the All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

“Pretty special first half for the Dodgers,” said Freeman, who has five multi-hit performances in his last six games since being left off the NL All-Star team. “Sixty wins is a lot of wins in a first half. We’ve been playing pretty good baseball of late. Sometimes you don’t want the All-Star break to come, but I feel like we could use the rest.”

One night after Clayton Kershaw took a perfect game into the eighth inning, Julio Urias (8-6) had eight strikeouts over seven innings of five-hit ball while improving to 5-0 in his last six starts. Freeman called Urias “the biggest snub on the All-Star team.”

A yawning chasm separates these two franchises: The Dodgers are powering toward their 10th consecutive playoff appearance with a wonderful roster and a fruitful farm system, while the incredibly top-heavy Angels (39-53) will need a massive second-half turnaround to avoid their seventh straight losing season and eighth straight non-playoff campaign.

Brandon Marsh hit a late-inning homer to break up the Dodgers’ shutout bid for the second straight night, but the Angels flopped into the break with their 12th loss in 14 games. Marsh homered in the seventh, and Shohei Ohtani had two singles for the 23rd multi-hit game of his second All-Star season.

“Having five days, I think that probably helps a little more,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “We’ll get together Thursday for a little workout and get on the plane to Atlanta. It doesn’t get any easier. Getting away from it for a little bit will probably help some of the guys.”

Mike Trout was a late scratch for the Halos, missing his fourth straight game with upper back spasms. The 10-time All-Star selection was in the Angels’ lineup until about three minutes before the first pitch.

Trout said he’ll sleep on it before he decided whether to bow out of the All-Star Game.

Jose Suarez (1-4) yielded six runs on five hits and three walks while failing to get out of the fourth inning for the Halos.

Turner warmed up for his appearance in the Midsummer Classic with a solo homer as the Dodgers’ second batter, putting the Angels behind in the first inning for the fourth time on their five-game homestand. After Turner added his shot in the third, Muncy followed with his first homer in nine games.

LOCAL KID MAKES GOOD

Freeman’s solo homer in the fifth also made him the 298th player in major league history to drive in 1,000 runs – and it was an unforgettable moment for a slugger raised in Villa Park, a mere 10 minutes from Angel Stadium. He grew up rooting for the Angels before getting drafted by Atlanta, and this two-game series was his first chance to play at the Big A since his rookie season.

“It’s the place I came to as a kid, watching big leaguers play for the first time in my entire life,” said Freeman, who had a big contingent of family and friends in the stands. “As a kid, you dream about being a big leaguer, but you never think you’re going to get there.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: Trout said his back felt wrong while swinging in the cage before the game. Trout is batting .270 with 24 homers and 51 RBIs in 79 games this season, although he has just one multi-hit game and six total RBIs in the past three weeks.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: Host the Giants on Thursday after hosting the All-Star festivities.

Angels: At Atlanta on Friday to begin a six-game road trip.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.