Ramirez rallies Dodgers despite his unclear future
He left the Los Angeles Dodgers’ clubhouse with a fashionable flair and grinned at teammates, but if he was happy about his performance he didn’t say a word.
Ramirez doubled twice and drove in his first run since reports he’s been put on waivers, rallying the Dodgers to a 5-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night. He declined comment afterward.
“Manny had a real good night,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
If Ramirez was auditioning for a new club such as the Chicago White Sox, who are rumored to have interest, it certainly was a success. The 38-year-old Ramirez also walked twice, scored a run and was thrown out at the plate in a bizarre play in the third inning.
“Any time Manny’s in the lineup, you know the other team’s thinking about that’s one of the guys they don’t want to beat them,” James Loney said. “He definitely (is) a force in the lineup.”
Andre Ethier hit a solo homer and Loney drove in two runs for the Dodgers, who are clinging to postseason hopes.
“Stranger things have happened,” catcher Rod Barajas said. “I was with the Phillies in ’07 when we were down seven with (17) games to play.”
Hiroki Kuroda (9-11) went seven solid innings, allowing three runs in the fourth and another in the sixth. Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee each had an RBI for Milwaukee.
Jonathan Broxton worked the eighth, and the Dodgers used three relievers in the ninth.
Ronald Belisario forced Braun to ground out and George Sherrill did the same against Fielder. Octavio Dotel earned his 22nd save, and first with the Dodgers since being acquired at the nonwaiver trade deadline, by getting McGehee to fly out.
In the fifth, Ryan Theriot cut Milwaukee’s lead to 3-2 against Randy Wolf (10-10) when he ducked behind a tag and slipped his left hand around catcher George Kottaras on Matt Kemp’s sacrifice fly with Ramirez on first.
“Theriot’s been a thorn in our side,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said.
Casey Blake followed with a double and he and Ramirez scored on Loney’s single to take a 4-3 lead. Ramirez added his RBI double in the sixth to make it 5-3.
Ramirez hasn’t spoken at length to reporters since spring training and declined to talk before the game. Clubs looking to add Ramirez through a waiver claim or trade would need him on their roster by Aug. 31 to make him available for the postseason.
Ramirez was involved in a head-scratching play in the third when he was thrown out at home as third base coach Larry Bowa followed him down the line.
After doubling to snap an 0 for 7 streak since returning from the disabled list on Saturday, Ramirez tried to score from second on Blake’s two-out single. Bowa never appeared to give a clear signal to stop or head home.
“He was trying to help him home,” Torre said. “He wasn’t held up.”
Braun’s throw from left field reached Kottaras in plenty of time and Ramirez only made a halfhearted slide, never reaching the plate with a limping Bowa trailing a few steps behind.
“(Bowa) beat him down the line, unfortunately,” Torre joked of his 64-year-old third-base coach.
It certainly was well watched in the Dodgers clubhouse, with Clayton Kershaw, Brad Ausmus and Matt Kemp all laughing at highlights of the play.
The next time Bowa was faced with sending Ramirez in the fifth, he held up the stop sign as Ramirez rounded second. Loney then followed with his go-ahead hit.
“I thought we had a lot of spirit, played well and hopefully we can build on this,” Torre said. “My goal for this team right now is to get ourselves five or six in a row under our belts so that we know when we go to the ballpark, we expect to win. We really haven’t been able to string it together.”
n Ramirez is expected to sit out today’s game.
n Brewers LHP Chris
Capuano (2-2, 3.72 ERA) will start Saturday instead of LHP Manny Parra (3-10, 5.65), who has been demoted to the bullpen.