3/1/2013 6:43 P.M. ET
Cruz paces potent offense in slugfest loss to Angels
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Josh Hamilton hit his first home run and the Angels erupted for seven runs in the third inning and five more in the seventh of Jered Weaver's debut on Friday, propelling them to their first Cactus League victory, 16-8, over a Dodgers split squad at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, making his second appearance of the spring, gave up Hamilton's two-run homer in the first inning and three singles in the second, but got out of that frame unscathed thanks partly to right fielder Yasiel Puig, who threw out Luis Rodriguez trying to go from first to third on a base hit.
The homer to Hamilton -- a shot to right-center field that scored Mike Trout after he drew the first of two walks -- was the first slider Ryu had thrown all spring.
"I wanted to see how Josh would react," Ryu said, "but I got too much of the plate."
Ryu, signed out of South Korea for $36 million, felt very comfortable with his changeup throughout the afternoon, but was having a hard time finding the right grip.
"The seams are very different; the balls are more slippery," Ryu said through a translator. "But I don't want to make any excuses."
Weaver gave up a first-inning run -- on a single and two stolen bases by Dee Gordon, then an RBI double by Luis Cruz -- and retired the Dodgers on three straight flyouts in the second. The 30-year-old right-hander threw 41 pitches, most of them fastballs and changeups.
"It's always exciting getting out there in a game atmosphere, getting the competitive juices flowing again," Weaver said. "I came out of it healthy, so that's all you can ask for right now."
Hamilton, serving as the designated hitter in his second spring game, added a single to left field in his second and last plate appearance, sparking a seven-run inning that sent 10 batters to the plate.
Chris Iannetta reached on a misplayed grounder by Cruz with two outs -- making all of Matt Palmer's runs unearned -- Rodriguez, Luis Jimenez and Andrew Romine added RBI singles, Scott Cousins and Trout each walked, and Peter Bourjos hit a three-run triple to right-center field to give the Angels (1-5-2) a 9-3 lead.
Reliever Kevin Jepsen struggled in his debut, giving up a couple of runs on doubles in the left-center-field gap by Puig and Cruz.
Rodriguez, competing for the Angels' reserve infield spot, went 3-for-3. Cruz went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and Puig also drove in a couple of runs.
"He's a big kid, man," Weaver said of the Cuban outfielder. "It felt like Frank Thomas in the box."
Dodgers up next: After his Spring debut Friday, it will be a very good sign if Matt Kemp plays again on Saturday when the Dodgers travel to Peoria and face the Seattle Mariners at 12:05 p.m. PT, broadcast live on Gameday Audio. Plenty of Dodgers big league pitchers will be in action, as Chris Capuano starts, followed by Chad Billingsley. Also on the traveling list are relievers Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario and J.P. Howell.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.