The Dodgers played their first exhibition game this spring using the new instant replay challenge system, or whatever it is called Thursday afternoon in a game that ended in a 4-4 tie against the Angels at Tempe Arizona. The new system was put to use right away in the first inning, as the Angels would challenge a call at the plate when Mike Trout was thrown out trying to extend his triple into an inside the park home run. The Dodgers didn’t have a hit until the fifth inning, but took a 4-0 lead when Scott Van Slyke crushed a grand slam, giving the Dodgers their second consecutive game with a grand slam. (Last night Alexander Guerrero hit one out).
However it was all for not, as the Dodgers blew a four run lead, serving up a run in the seventh inning, and three more in the ninth highlighted by a three-run shot from C.J. Cron that tied the game. The Angels were unable to plate the winning run and the game ended in a tie after ten frames.
In the bottom of the first, Trout stroked a line drive base hit to center that got past the diving Yasiel Puig and rolled towards the wall. Trout tried to extend it into an inside the park home run, and was thrown out at the plate. Puig threw to the cut-off man, and A.J. made a great swipe tag, being careful not to violate the other rule changes centered around terminating collisions at home plate. The call was correct, he was out. Well, you be the judge…..
Angel’s manager Mike Scioscia immediately challenged the play, and we got our first look at the system. The umpires huddled together and put on these little headsets that made them look like they were ordering a double double with cheese, animal style. After reviewing the play on these little monitors or something, the play stood as called. Trout was out. The Angels were then charged a timeout. Oh wait, nevermind.
Dodger starter Dan Haren threw four scoreless frames, allowing just three hits, no walks, and three whiffs. Haren was evenly matched by Halo’s lefty C.J. Wilson who also tossed four scoreless frames, whiffing four Dodgers.
Javy Guerra nearly broke the scoreless tie, but was able to wiggle out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the fifth. Carlos Pena, and Chris Iannetta both reached on consecutive singles with one out. After an Erick Aybar walk, Guerra got Kole Calhounto ground into a force out at the plate, and Guerra got Trout to fly to right.
In the top of the sixth, Angel’s pitcher Dane De La Rosa walked A.J. Ellis, and then plunked Hanley Ramirez in the arm with a pitch. Hanley was upset but stayed in the game, and scored on Van Slyke’s grand slam. He was taken out of the game for precautionary measures, but fear not Lairians, Hanley is just fine. (Puig was removed with a sore back, but is expected to be ok as well.)
After an Adrian Gonzalez bloop single to right, Van Slyke delivered launching a booming shot to left, that cleared the bases, allowing Hanley and company to trot home, and the Dodgers were up 4-0.
The Halos scratched across a run in the seventh frame, when Carlos Frias gave up a single to Chad Tracy, and a double to Andrew Romine, putting runners at second and third with one out. Jon Hester’s sacrifice fly scored Tracy to cut the lead to 4-1 Dodgers.
Move to the bottom of the ninth. Relievers Daniel Moskos, and Chris Anderson were unable to hold the three-run lead. Romine walked, and a Tommy Field fly out later, Romine stole second. Hester was hit by a pitch, which caused a brief injury delay. Moskos was called in and went on to give up a huge three-run home run to C.J. Cron that tied the game at 4-4. So either the Angels score the winning run, or the game ties right? Not exactly! Kaleb Cowart reached on a throwing error, and former Dodger Ian Stewart singled Cowart to second. The Dodgers had to make another pitching change, bringing in Sam Demel. He was able to get Brennan Boesch to fly out to left, and J.B. Schuck to pop out to end the ninth inning.
The game would go for one more inning. Scott Schebler would actually triple with two outs in the top of the tenth, but after a walk to J.C. Boscan, Dee Gordon would leave the winning run on base after grounding out. At this point the Dodgers could only play for a tie, as the game was called after the Dodgers and Demel retired the Halos in order.
The Dodgers will play several more exhibition games with the new challenge system throughout the spring. Tomorrow afternoon they’ll play the Texas Rangers at Camelback as top prospect Zach Lee will make his first start of the spring. The Rangers will counter with youngster Martin Perez at 12:05 PM.