LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers and Angels both were 80-82 last season, the first time the Southern California rivals finished with identical records since the Angels opened for business in 1961.
And both have much to atone for once things start for real Thursday.
Top prospect Mike Trout hit a tying RBI single in the ninth and Hank Conger delivered the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly, helping the Angels beat the Dodgers 5-4 on Monday night in the opener of the preseason Freeway Series and saddling Don Mattingly with a loss in his first game at Dodger Stadium as a big league manager.
Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton, looking for his first save this spring, was charged with a pair of unearned runs in the loss.
Matt Trumbo started the winning rally with a one-out single, and Alexi Amarista followed with a potential game-ending double-play grounder toward the middle that went under Ivan DeJesus' glove, putting runners at the corners. Trout followed with a hit-and-run single that drove in Trumbo, and Conger flied out to center after a walk to Andrew Romine, scoring Amarista.
"These kids might be a little nervous out there, but in the last inning it was good to see them do the things they can do," manager Mike Scioscia said. "There was a great at-bat by Mike Trout, Alexi Amarista made some things happen and they kept playing baseball."
Hisanori Takahashi got the win with an inning of two-hit relief, and Ryan Brasier got the final two outs for the save. The left-hander has allowed just one earned run this spring in 13 innings.
"I like the fact that he has the confidence to throw any pitch in any count," Conger said. "That's what makes him so effective."
Andre Ethier drove in the Dodgers' first run with a first-inning double off Ervin Santana. Ethier is in the final season of a two-year, $15.25 million contract that will pay him $9.25 million this season. And the way he's talking, the Dodgers might have a difficult time re-signing him next winter because of the uncertainty of the team's payroll and subsequent ownership in the wake of owner Frank McCourt's divorce from wife Jamie.
"This is my sixth one, and who knows? It might be my last one here with the Dodgers. You never know. A lot of signs are pointing that way, so we'll have to see," Ethier said. "Six years for a Dodger is a long time, in the era that we're living in. So I'm going to cherish every moment I can, enjoy the season and try to make it my best one."
Santana threw 52 of his 69 pitches for strikes in his sixth and final spring start, allowing two runs and three hits with five strikeouts. He finished his exhibition duties 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA and will make his season debut Saturday at Kansas City.
Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly threw 80 pitches, allowing two runs, four hits and five walks over four innings in his final spring tuneup for his regular-season debut Saturday against the World Series champion Giants. He struck out four and finished his spring slate 1-1 with a 6.19 ERA in four starts.
Dodgers reserve outfielder Jay Gibbons will be seeing his fourth eye specialist Tuesday in an attempt to correct some blurred vision, which has limited him to 16 at-bats and four hits this spring.
Last December, about a month after the club re-signed him to a one-year contract for the major league minimum of $400,000 and a cost-of-living adjustment, Gibbons underwent PRK surgery on his left eye. He was told it was safer than Lasik surgery, which he had about seven years ago.
"I'm growing less optimistic by the minute," said Gibbons, who will be fitted for new contact lenses that won't keep popping out and moving around. "I'm better than 20-20 in each eye. The problem is that they're not working together, which is throwing me off -- balance-wise and depth-wise. So that's what we're dealing with. It was an overcorrection from my surgery in December. So I'm nearsighted on one eye and farsighted in the other. So essentially, my vision's gotten worse after the surgery."