for this game

Ramirez lifts Dodgers into NL West lead

Sep 7, 2008 - 12:48 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Life as a Dodger is a lot more enjoyable these days.

Manny Ramirez hit a three-run homer and drove in five runs to help Los Angeles take sole possession of first place in the National League West Division following Saturday's 7-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"We're having a lot of fun," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.

It marked the seventh straight win for Los Angeles (72-70), which holds a one-half game lead over the Diamondbacks (71-70) in the NL West heading into Sunday's final regular-season meeting between the teams.

Just last week, the Dodgers had dropped eight in a row on a disastrous road trip to fall 4 1/2 games out of first place. Things turned around beginning with two wins in Arizona last weekend before the current six-game homestand.

The surge has Los Angeles atop the division for the first time since April 4.

"It's a lot more fun than it was a couple weeks ago when we lost eight in a row, I'll tell you that," Dodgers catcher Russell Martin said. "The guys seem like they're focused and ready to play right now."

Ramirez's two-out blast in the fifth inning off Diamondbacks starter Brandon Webb broke a scoreless deadlock and put the Dodgers ahead, 3-0.

Webb was denied in his bid to become the NL's first 20-game winner and first since a trio of pitchers did so in 2005 after being out-dueled by Chad Billingsley.

Billingsley (14-10) earned his team-leading 14th victory, taking a shutout into the seventh. He gave up four hits and struck out nine with one walk over 6 1/3 scoreless innings.

"Once he gets into a rhythm, he's been a big guy for us," Torre said.

The 24-year-old received all the run support needed with one swing of the bat.

After striking out with the bases loaded in the third, Ramirez got his revenge in the fifth. Angel Berroa opened the inning with a single and, two batters later, Andre Ethier drew a four-pitch walk to bring up Ramirez. The reigning NL Player of the Month hit the first pitch he saw to the opposite field for his 11th homer as a Dodger and 31st of the season.

"One swing of the bat, he can change the momentum and put you right back in the game," Billingsley said. "He's such a dangerous hitter, and great hitter."

Webb simply made a mistake on the pitch.

"I just tried to get ahead and left it up and out, and that was it," Webb said. "He's an aggressive hitter and doesn't miss many pitches."

It was the 521st home run of Ramirez's career, tying him with Willie McCovey, Ted Williams and Frank Thomas for 17th on the all-time list. The five RBI gives him 1,706, moving him to 20th all-time.

The Dodgers took advantage of four walks and a poor play in the field in the sixth to score four runs. Martin drew a bases-loaded walk from Webb, who was then replaced by Juan Cruz.

Ethier followed with a walk to bring home another run and push the lead to 5-0.

Ramirez promptly hit a towering shot to the warning track in right field that Justin Upton lost in the sun, resulting in the ball bouncing over the fence and two more runs scoring for the 7-0 lead.

Webb (19-7), who was roughed up in a loss to the Dodgers on Sunday, was dealt the same fate in this one. He surrendered seven runs and five hits while walking six and striking out six in 5 1/3 innings.

"(Webb) was still getting us where we needed to go, for a while," Diamondbacks Manager Bob Melvin said. "After Manny hit the home run, the next inning he kinda ran out of gas a little bit."

An NL Cy Young Award hopeful, Webb is winless in his last three starts.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ARIZONA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 6 0
    LA DODGERS 0 0 0 0 3 4 0 0 x 7 6 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: ARI - BRANDON WEBB, JUAN CRUZ (6TH), JON RAUCH (7TH), WILFREDO
    LEDEZMA (8TH) AND CHRIS SNYDER, MIGUEL MONTERO (8TH)
    LOS - CHAD BILLINGSLEY, CORY WADE (7TH), SCOTT E

    Sep 6 7:02 PM


  • NL
    AT LA DODGERS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JUSTIN UPTON SCORED CHRIS BURKE AND JAMIE
    D'ANTONA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J UPTON ON FIRST, C YOUNG ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 2
    LA DODGERS 7 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: M MONTERO (.275, 0-FOR-1)

    Diamondbacks 2, Dodgers 7  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 6 6:56 PM


  • NL
    AT LA DODGERS - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND RULE DOUBLE BY MANNY RAMIREZ SCORED ANGEL BERROA AND
    RUSSELL MARTIN.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, M RAMIREZ ON SECOND, A ETHIER ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 0
    LA DODGERS 7 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: J LONEY (.302, 0-FOR-3)

    Diamondbacks 0, Dodgers 7  Bot 6, 0 OutsSep 6 5:58 PM


  • NL
    AT LA DODGERS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO ANDRE ETHIER SCORED MATT KEMP.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A ETHIER ON FIRST, R MARTIN ON SECOND, A
    BERROA ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 0
    LA DODGERS 5 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: M RAMIREZ (.398, 1-FOR-3, HR, 3 RBI)

    Diamondbacks 0, Dodgers 5  Bot 6, 0 OutsSep 6 5:52 PM


  • NL
    AT LA DODGERS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO RUSSELL MARTIN SCORED CASEY BLAKE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R MARTIN ON FIRST, A BERROA ON SECOND, M
    KEMP ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 0
    LA DODGERS 4 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: A ETHIER (.292, 0-FOR-1, 2 BB)

    Diamondbacks 0, Dodgers 4  Bot 6, 0 OutsSep 6 5:44 PM
  • 10
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Diamondbacks 0, Dodgers 3  Top 6, 0 OutsSep 6 5:24 PM
  • 5
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 23 roots

    Diamondbacks 0, Dodgers 3  Top 6, 0 OutsSep 6 5:22 PM


  • NL
    AT LA DODGERS - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY MANNY RAMIREZ (11) TO RIGHT WITH 2
    OUT IN THE 5TH OFF BRANDON WEBB SCORED ANGEL BERROA AND ANDRE
    ETHIER.
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 0, LA DODGERS 3
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: J LONEY (.302, 0-FOR-2)

    Diamondbacks 0, Dodgers 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 6 5:21 PM
  • 28
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 23 roots

    Diamondbacks 0, Dodgers 0  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 6 5:10 PM
  • 5
    roots
    GREGnKY Added 5 roots

    Diamondbacks vs. DodgersSep 6 12:14 PM