That already-infamous pratfall hardly seemed to be a good omen -- yet the Angels have barely made a misstep since, and they capped their remarkable odyssey with a little bit of history in their crosstown rivals' famous park.
Hideki Matsui had three hits and drove in two runs, Jered Weaver pitched into the seventh inning and the Angels swept an interleague Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium for the first time with a 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.
Mike Napoli hit an eighth-inning homer for the Angels, who improved to a season-best six games over .500 at 36-30 with their 10th win in 12 games, staying just a half-game behind first-place Texas in the AL West.
All that travel has turned around a slow-starting season for the Angels, who wrapped up their road work with 11 wins, the franchise's most on a single trip since 1962.
"Winning cures everything, and we're doing a lot of it," said Torii Hunter, who hit his 10th homer. "We were actually talking about wearing our grays tomorrow [at home against Milwaukee]. I don't know if that's illegal or what. We want to act like we're still on the road. I might keep my bags packed."
James Loney drove in three runs with two late doubles for the Dodgers, connecting against Kevin Jepsen in the seventh and Fernando Rodney in the eighth to trim the Angels' lead to a run. But closer Brian Fuentes capped the bullpen's rocky performance with his 10th save, getting speedy Rafael Furcal to ground into a game-ending double play.
"We always saw the potential for us to play better," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You'd like to see it a little cleaner [in the late innings], but they held the lead, that's the bottom line. [The Dodgers] hit some good pitches. That double play in the ninth, I don't think you'll see a better turn than what Howie [Kendrick] did at second base."
Furcal hit a leadoff homer before stranding four runners in the final three innings for the Dodgers, who were swept at home for the first time since Houston did it in May 2008.
Manny Ramirez had two long doubles among his three hits for the Dodgers, who were on a remarkable 24-8 roll until running into their freeway foes this weekend. After ending their longest homestand of the season with eight wins in 13 games, they'll meet the Angels again in nine days in Anaheim.
"Is it incomprehensible for us to get swept at home? No," said outfielder Andre Ethier, who went 0 for 4. "I mean, if you go out and play like that, you're going to get swept. They picked up runners when they had an opportunity, and we didn't. It's as simple as that. That team is very good at getting the momentum to swing their way and using it to their advantage."
After Furcal's second homer of the season off the screen on the right-field foul pole, the Dodgers struggled mightily against Weaver (6-3), who yielded five hits and struck out seven while winning for just the second time in seven starts.
Weaver even struck out his older brother, Jeff, the Dodgers' long reliever who took over in the third inning for struggling Carlos Monasterios (3-1). The Venezuelan rookie took the first loss of his major league career in his 16th appearance, allowing seven hits and three walks.
The Weavers hadn't batted against each other since they were kids playing Wiffle Ball in their backyard in Simi Valley, Calif., although Jeff beat Jered last June 20 at Angel Stadium when they started against each other in the eighth matchup between brothers in baseball history.
"It's 1-0 Jered," the Angels' Weaver proclaimed with a grin. "We'll be saving that video, that's for sure. ... I tried not to look him in the eye, because I knew I'd be busting up laughing."
Matsui got the day off on his 36th birthday Saturday, but returned with another sizzling game for the Angels. He had an RBI single in the first inning, a double in the third and another run-scoring single in the fifth, improving to 20 for 48 with 12 RBIs in June.
Bobby Abreu also had three hits for the Angels. ... Ramirez had been in an 8-for-36 slump on the Dodgers' homestand before getting two doubles and a single, including a shot that bounced into the left-field stands behind the Mannywood sign. ... The first pitch was thrown out by Jonathan Goldsmith, the gray-bearded actor famous for his role as "The Most Interesting Man in the World" in a marketing campaign for Dos Equis beer. The 71-year-old Goldsmith's strong throw came in thigh-high and just off the plate, prompting public-address announcer Eric Smith to intone, "That was the most interesting pitch in the world."