LOS ANGELES — A.J. Ellis hit a grand slam against Jason Vargas for his first homer of the spring, Luis Cruz doubled home two runs and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Angels 9-8 Friday night in their next-to-last game of spring training.
Josh Beckett threw 80 pitches over four innings to get the win despite giving up seven runs on nine hits, including a three-run homer by Mike Trout and a two-run shot by Albert Callaspo.
Beckett is about to embark on his first full season with the Dodgers after coming over from Boston in a blockbuster nine-player trade on Aug. 25. He finished the spring 0-1 with a 10.12 ERA in five starts – including five home runs – and surrendered 14 earned runs in eight innings over his final two outings. His season debut will be Wednesday night against the World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
Paco Rodriguez got his second save of the exhibition season, facing one batter and throwing a called third strike past pinch-hitter Luis Jimenez with runners at second and third after Brandon League gave up an infield RBI single by Andrew Romine.
Vargas threw 60 pitches in just 1 1-2 innings, giving up eight runs and seven hits. The 30-year-old lefty, who joined the Angels in a trade that sent slugging first baseman and DH Kendrys Morales to the Seattle Mariners on Dec. 19, finished spring training 0-1 with a 7.54 ERA in six starts. His season debut will be next Friday afternoon at Texas.
Albert Pujols opened the scoring with a first-inning RBI single, his ninth RBI of the spring, but the Dodgers responded with five runs in the bottom half. Matt Kemp hit an RBI double and Ellis drove a 2-1 fastball over the center field fence after a two-out walk to Andre Ethier. Ellis hit 13 home runs last season, his first as the Dodgers' regular catcher.
Callaspo reduced the Angels' deficit to 5-3 in the second with a two-run homer into the lower seats in the right field corner, but the Dodgers extended the margin to 8-3 with three in the bottom half.
Shortstop Erick Aybar drifted under a flyball to short right field by Adrian Gonzalez with one out and runners at first and second, dropping the ball after waving off the oncoming Mark Trumbo.
Aybar was able to get the force at third on Carl Crawford as Beckett crossed the plate – eliciting an argument between Angels manager Mike Scioscia and third base umpire Alfonso Marquez, who would not rule it an infield fly. Gonzalez ended up at first base and scored behind Kemp on a two-run double by Cruz that Trumbo missed on a leaping attempt at the fence. That was all for Vargas.
Josh Hamilton's edged the Angels closer with an opposite-field RBI double in the third, and they narrowed the gap to 8-7 in the fourth with Trout's homer into the lower stands in the left field corner. It was only the second of the spring for last season's AL rookie of the year, who has 13 RBIs in 57 at-bats.
The Dodgers got their ninth run with two out in the seventh when Trumbo camped under Andre Ethier's lazy flyball in short left field and shortstop Romine banged into him, knocking the ball loose and allowing Cruz to score all the way from first base.
NOTES: Vargas allowed 35 homers last season, tying him for the second-most allowed in the majors. ... Pujols has three home runs this spring. He hit seven during spring training last year, his first with the Angels, then went homerless in his first 27 regular-season games before breaking through on May 6 in his 111th at-bat – ending a career-worst drought to start a season. The three-time NL MVP finished with 30, his lowest total in 12 big league campaigns.