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Ethier's second HR gives Dodgers win over Brewers

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Associated Press
August 18, 2008
— The euphoria that filled Milwaukee's dugout after a game-tying rally in the ninth inning quickly disappeared when Andre Ethier came to bat again.

Ethier hit his second homer of the game and the Los Angeles Dodgers recovered to beat the Brewers 7-5 on Sunday after Ryan Braun capped Milwaukee's error-aided comeback against Chan Ho Park with a two-run homer in the top of the ninth.


"Me and Matt Kemp were out there looking at each other when they tied it up, saying, 'What the heck's going on?' It's a big emotional swing, but you've got to jump right back on it and stay mentally tough in that situation," Ethier said. "We've had to come up big in some situations. And when they present themselves, don't back down. Go up there, tough it out, really grind out that at-bat and make the most of it."


The Dodgers also got homers from Kemp and Manny Ramirez to move into a first-place tie with Arizona in the NL West.


"We're certainly in a good place right now, with a lot of confidence," manager Joe Torre said. "We expect to win when we come out here. I mean, it's that intensity without being tense, which is where you really want to be. I like that type of attitude that we have right now."


Jason Johnson pitched 2 1-3 innings of two-hit ball after relieving starter Clayton Kershaw, and was two outs from his first major league save when Torre brought in Park after a single by Jason Kendall. Pinch-hitter Craig Counsell followed with a grounder toward the hole that first baseman James Loney misplayed, and he compounded the error by throwing it past first base with Park covering the bag.


Ray Durham, who replaced injured second baseman Rickie Weeks in the sixth, singled home two runs and Braun drove an 0-2 slider to left field for his team-high 31st homer.


Park slammed his glove to the ground when the ball cleared the fence. All four runs in the inning were unearned.


"That was a gut-wrencher there, when you lose that kind of lead in the ninth inning, especially with two out," Torre said. "And then to be able to come back and win the game, what can I cay? I mean, it goes from tragic to magical."


Kemp led off the bottom of the ninth with a single against Carlos Villanueva (4-6) and Ethier followed with a drive to right field on a 1-2 pitch for his 15th homer.


"He didn't just pick me up. He picked the whole team up," Loney said. "There were some crazy things in the ninth."


Joe Beimel (4-0) relieved Park after Braun's homer and got one out for the win. Ramirez had three RBIs for the Dodgers, who have won six of seven.


Kershaw allowed eight hits over six innings. Milwaukee's only run against the 20-year-old left-hander came in the fourth on Mike Cameron's 21st homer.


Braun, who also leads the Brewers in average (.301) and RBIs (86), was 2-for-4 in his return to the starting lineup. He missed six games because of tightness in his lower back, then entered Saturday night as a pinch hitter and doubled in two at-bats as Milwaukee won 4-3 in 10 innings.


"That's the type of team we are. We play a tough nine," said Brewers starter Jeff Suppan, who gave up three homers for the first time in more than two years. "Even when we lose, we still put a lot of pressure on the other team."


The Brewers have lost three of four following an eight-game winning streak, but they still lead St. Louis by two games in the NL wild-card race. Six of their final 12 games will be against the Chicago Cubs, who lead Milwaukee by 5 games in the NL Central.


"You want to win your division," Kendall said. "But we can't even think that far ahead right now."


Suppan found himself behind 3-0 after 10 pitches. Kemp drove the right-hander's first offering into the left-field pavilion for his first career leadoff homer and 15th this season. Jeff Kent singled with one out and Ramirez followed with a drive that traveled an estimated 439 feet to left-center.


Ramirez, who has 26 homers overall this year, is 25-for-59 (.424) with six home runs and 21 RBIs in 16 games with the Dodgers after a bitter split with the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.


Ethier made it 4-1 in the fifth with his 14th homer and the 21st allowed this season by Suppan. Ramirez drove in the Dodgers' fifth run with an RBI single in the seventh against Seth McClung.


Notes:@ The Dodgers are 6-1 when Ramirez homers, 8-3 when he drives in at least one run. ... Kendall reached the 1,000 mark in innings caught for the 11th time in 12 big league seasons. He led all catchers in starts for five straight years before Dodgers counterpart Russell Martin ended that streak last season with 143. ... It was the 17th time this season that the 40-year-old Kent started a day game after starting the night before. The Dodgers are 8-9 in those matinees, with Kent going 14-for-63 (.222) with a homer and two RBIs. ... Weeks left the game because of a sprained left thumb.



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