LOS ANGELES — Kenta Maeda has gone from the rotation to the bullpen to spot starting this month.
Maeda, like many baseball players, was built on routine, but his job has become anything but predictable with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
No matter. This role seems to suit him just fine.
Maeda pitched four-hit ball over seven innings in a spot start, Joc Pederson hit a three-run homer and the Dodgers beat the Angels 4-0 on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Maeda (6-3) was moved to the bullpen earlier this month, but filled in Tuesday to give the rotation an extra day of rest. He dominated the Dodgers’ crosstown rival, striking out six with no walks on 92 pitches. His ERA dropped to 4.15.
He’ll get another spot start before the All-Star break, too. Why not, with results like this?
“I think there’s definitely a sense of urgency overall,” Maeda said through an interpreter. “I didn’t start off the year on a good note. Regardless of if I’m in the bullpen or starting, there’s definitely a sense of urgency that I feel to produce results.”
Maeda was 2-2 with a 6.58 ERA in April. He’s allowed just four runs in 21 innings in June.
Angels starter Jesse Chavez (5-8) was pulled in the sixth after working into a jam, and Cody Bellinger greeted reliever Jose Alvarez with an RBI single. Bellinger leads the Dodgers with 56 RBIs.
Pederson hit his seventh home run two batters later.
“(Alvarez) made some good pitches to Bellinger and (Austin) Barnes, but just left a slider in the middle of the plate to Pederson and he hit it out of the park,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
The Dodgers, who ended a 10-game winning streak Monday with a 4-0 loss against the Angels, have won 17 of their past 19 games and lead the National League with a 52-27 record.
Pederson has been hitting well since his return from a concussion he got in an outfield collision with Yasiel Puig.
“Maybe it knocked some sense into me,” Pederson joked. “Shawn Wooten (the hitting coach at Triple-A Oklahoma City) found something in my swing that I was not doing that I was doing last year. It’s paying off. … Things have been going well with it.”
Chavez was charged with two runs over 5 1/3 innings. He didn’t allow a hit until his 12th batter, and that was a miscue by Eric Young Jr., who seemingly lost the ball in center field and let it drop. Chavez allowed two hits, struck out five and walked four.
Outfielder Trayce Thompson was back in the Dodgers’ lineup for the first time since his recent call-up, and he made his mark with a diving catch. He was 0 for 3, but one of those was a flyball to the warning track.
Angels: OF Mike Trout (thumb) hit soft toss and is expected to take live batting practice soon. … LHP Tyler Skaggs (oblique muscle) will be evaluated again Wednesday to see if he can continue on a throwing program.
Dodgers: OF Puig (knee, hamstring) had flare-up, so he was given the day off, but was available to come off the bench. … SS Corey Seager (hamstring) took some swings and did agility drills effectively. He didn’t start, but was available to pinch hit. … LHP Julio Urias had left shoulder surgery. He’s expected to miss 12 to 14 months, but manager Dave Roberts said Dr. Neal ElAttrache was more optimistic about his recovery after the surgery.
Angels: RHP Alex Meyer (3-4, 4.20 ERA) is 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA at Angel Stadium, where the Freeway Series moves on Wednesday. He has struggled on the road and pitched just 3 1/3 innings in a 9-4 loss at Boston in his last start.
Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-6, 4.30) will make his sixth start since moving back into the rotation from the bullpen. Ryu allowed two runs in each of his last two starts.
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