The Los Angeles Dodgers received another strong outing from a starting pitcher on Wednesday night with it this time coming in the surprising form of Dan Haren.
The veteran right-hander threw 7.1 innings of shutout baseball and handed the ball over to the bullpen with a 2-0 lead and a runner on first base. The combination of J.P. Howell and Brandon League allowed the one run to score in the eighth, which set the stage for a tense ninth inning.
The Dodgers were unable to add to their slim lead and charged Kenley Jansen with the task of retiring the top of the lineup in order to earn his 32nd save this season. Jansen got off to a rocky start as Kole Calhoun hit a leadoff single and stole second base.
Jansen quickly fell behind in the count 3-0 to Trout before bouncing back with three consecutive strikeouts, including getting the center fielder to chase high. Albert Pujols flied out on two pitches, Josh Hamilton struck out on five and Jansen completed the high-wire act.
Following the win, the Dodger closer discussed the difficulty he had in balancing his adrenaline and aggressiveness, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
It felt like a playoff atmosphere with all the adrenaline I had,” Jansen said. “I had to maintain my composure, keep it down but stay aggressive, control the game.”
By striking out Trout, Jansen ended the center fielder’s 20-game hitting streak in Interleague play, which was the longest active streak in MLB.
Wednesday’s appearance was Jansen’s second of the series. He threw a scoreless ninth inning on Tuesday to keep the game tied and the Dodgers went on to win in walk-off fashion.
Since the 26-year-old closer allowed three runs and blew a save against the San Diego Padres on June 20, Jansen is 2-0 with 12 saves and has 24 strikeouts in 17.1 innings to go with a 0.54 ERA.
The 32nd save tied Jansen for third in all of baseball.
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