Bombs away for Ramirez, Kemp in Dodgers’ victory
August 12, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO – Manny Ramirez is not one to get overly excited about a potential sweep in August, or even a hitting funk here or there.
Ramirez hit a towering two-run homer and also doubled in a run after two earlier intentional walks and the Los Angeles Dodgers routed the rival San Francisco Giants 9-1 on Tuesday night.
The slugger is certainly doing his part to give the Dodgers some separation in the division race. And Los Angeles sure seems to be back on track after losing three straight to Atlanta over the weekend.
“When you play 162 games, things like this are going to happen. We’re fine,” Ramirez said. “We’ve still got two months to go, so it doesn’t matter if we come here and win three or lose two. We’ve still got to push it ’til the end.”
Andre Ethier doubled twice and drove in two runs for the NL West-leading Dodgers, who increased their division lead over the Giants to 7 1/2 games and hold a 7-4 edge in the season series after winning the first two games of this series.
Matt Kemp added a three-run homer three batters after Ramirez connected in the seventh and many fans in the sellout crowd of 41,167 quickly started heading for the exits.
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When Manny’s doing his thing, everybody prospers.
“It takes pressure off the other guys who are trying to pick up the slack,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “I saw patience. Obviously the first two times up he didn’t need much patience. He has good plate coverage. He had two strikes against him when he hit the home run.”
Boos rained down on Ramirez each time he stepped into the batter’s box – as will likely be the case away from Mannywood – but he silenced the crowd when he crushed a 1-2 pitch from Brandon Medders and sent it deep into the left-field seats.
Ramirez’s seventh homer since returning from a 50-game suspension and 13th overall helped Randy Wolf (6-6) win for the first time in four starts.
Ramirez struck out looking to end the eighth, thinking he had drawn a walk. Ramirez has struck out 20 times in his last 17 games.
“He’s been swinging the bat well the past three or four days. He’s starting to feel it and come around,” Kemp said of Ramirez.
The Giants had hoped to use these games to gain ground. Instead, they have dropped consecutive home series for the first time all season.
Giants starter Joe Martinez (2-1) pitched well until running into trouble in the fifth.
That inning, Russell Martin reached on second baseman Eugenio Velez’s fielding error when he couldn’t catch a low throw from Martinez.
“It turned the whole game around, there’s no getting around it,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It was a routine double-play ball and Joe threw a sinker to second Eugenio couldn’t handle and it turned the whole game around.”
Wolf allowed one run and three hits in eight innings and retired 16 of his final 19 batters as the Dodgers won for the fifth time in their last six road games.
In his second career start after winning his first one at Houston on Aug. 5. Martinez came off the 60-day disabled list before that outing to pitch in the majors for the first time since being struck in the head by a line drive from Milwaukee’s Mike Cameron on April 9.
Velez had his career-best 16-game hitting streak snapped but drove in the Giants’ lone run with a third-inning groundout.
San Francisco second baseman Freddy Sanchez missed the game after tweaking his left shoulder on a swing Monday.
The Giants had planned to activate outfielder Nate Schierholtz from the disabled list but pushed back the move to make sure they had adequate depth in the infield. Fan favorite Rich Aurilia could be the odd man out when Schierholtz does return, probably Wednesday.
Dodgers second baseman Orlando Hudson was held out of the lineup after leaving Monday night’s 4-2 victory with a left groin injury.
NOTES: RHP Jeff Weaver will start Wednesday’s series finale for the Dodgers. … Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval celebrated his 23rd birthday. … Los Angeles optioned LHP Eric Stults to Triple-A Albuquerque to bring up Charlie Haeger as a long man for Wednesday to back up Weaver. … Giants CF Aaron Rowand was back in the starting lineup after leaving Sunday’s game against Cincinnati in the sixth with a strained hamstring. … Giants aces Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain ordered their red All-Star jerseys and handed them out to teammates Tuesday.
Orioles 3, Athletics 2
BALTIMORE – Trevor Cahill finally pitched a game in which he did not yield a home run, and lost anyway.
David Hernandez gave up two homers, yet managed to earn a redemptive win following two straight unsightly defeats.
Hernandez outpitched Cahill in a duel between rookie right-handers, and the Baltimore Orioles ended a nine-game losing streak against the Oakland Athletics with a 3-2 victory Tuesday night.
Brian Roberts had three hits, an RBI and two stolen bases for the Orioles, who had been outscored 30-6 in their previous four games against Oakland this season. It was Baltimore’s first win over the A’s since July 22, 2007.
“Both starting pitchers were good, but what counts is that Hernandez was better,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.
Hernandez (4-4) allowed two runs, six hits and a walk in 6 2-3 innings. The only glaring faults in his performance were solo home runs by Scott Hairston and Adam Kennedy.
“The one to Hairston was a hanging slider and he hit it out,” Hernandez said. “The second one, to Kennedy, I didn’t think he would be swinging because the previous batter swung at the first pitch. I thought he would take it, but he was dead red waiting on it.”
Still, Hernandez’s improvement over his past two starts was profound. After throwing 102 pitches over 4 1-3 innings in a loss to Boston and surrendering five runs in three innings against Detroit, the rookie was solid against the A’s.
“I knew I had to redeem myself because I didn’t want to have three straight bad starts,” he said.
Jim Johnson got three outs to earn his fourth save, the second since he inherited the closer’s job from George Sherrill, who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 30.
Cahill (6-12) gave up three runs and eight hits in seven innings but lost his fourth straight start. His 12th defeat of the season left him tied for most in the AL.
Cahill had allowed at least one homer in each of his previous nine starts, but he kept the ball in the park to end the third-longest streak in Oakland history.
“I was happy. I was able to go seven. That’s what I’ve been trying to do, is go deep in the game and I was really happy I didn’t walk anybody,” Cahill said. “That’s how I’ve been struggling this year. I fell behind a couple of times and was still able to get some outs, so I was happy with that.”
Oakland manager Bob Geren agreed with Trembley’s assessment that Hernandez was just a bit more effective than Cahill.
“The conditions were right for a lot of runs if the pitchers weren’t as good as they were. Both pitchers threw well, but their guy, it was showing 94 (mph) on the gun but it seemed like it had like a 96-98 kind of effect,” Geren said. “Got to give him a little bit of credit – we were on some pitches but we didn’t square them up.”
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the second when Nolan Reimold led off with a single, stole second, took third on a groundout and scored when Melvin Mora inadvertently hit an RBI grounder to first after being jammed on a pitch off his fists.
Hairston hit his fourth homer in the fourth inning and Kennedy connected for his 10th in the fifth to put Oakland up 2-1.
Baltimore regained the lead with a two-run fifth. Roberts hit an RBI single and Adam Jones drove in a run with a groundout, but the inning ended when Roberts lost track of the outs and was doubled off second after running home on a one-out popup by Nick Markakis.
After Cahill left, Jay Marshall pitched a perfect inning for the A’s in his first major league appearance since 2007.
NOTES: Rajai Davis hit the 10,000th double in Oakland history in the first inning. Sal Bando had the first, on April 13, 1968. … The Orioles ended a three-game skid and improved to 7-18 since the All-Star break. … Roberts improved to 12 for 12 stealing third base. Since the start of the 2003 season, he’s 71 for 77 stealing third.