DeJa Vu All Over Again; L.A. Loses 2-1

The thing about old movies, the film ALWAYS came out right in the end. But Manny Ramirez debut was written by a newer breed: The player shows up to save the franchise, the games goes into the last of the ninth with the home team trailing by one, our hero comes up with a runner on base -- and bounces into a double play.

Personally we prefer Turner Classics. There Jimmy Stewart or Spencer Tracy would have smacked a homer, won the game and the girl, would be carried off the field by admiring teammates as the pennant was clinched.

But the reality is that Ramirez grounded into a double play, the team was disappointed and the bad guys increased their lead to three games over our fellows in the white hats.

Oh, well. We can hear Ethyl Merman singing, "That's Entertainment" but we don't like it.

In the second game of the series, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks played another 2-1 game. L.A. again scored one in the sixth, Arizona scored twice in the seventh and won both of them.

The Manny of the hour lined a pair of singles and then hit into a double play in the last of the ninth. He also showed why Boston grew tired of his act when he seemed quite unconcerned when a ball in the gap went for a triple when he was content to let Matt Kemp run it down in left center instead of cutting it off himself and holding the runner to a double.

The Boston expatriate also watched without advancing to the uncovered second base as Kemp was caught off third base in a rundown and finally tagged out. One would think that a $20 million salary would have included those sort of things in the job description.

Leo Durocher is spinning in his grave.

The script writer had one thing right. Young Clayton Kershaw (20) matched future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson (44) pitch for pitch and seemed to have earned the nod over his veteran opponent.

Kershaw got only a no-decision, limiting Arizona to zero runs on four hits while fanning three. Johnson, who earned the win. gave up five hits and an unearned run while striking out six.

"Everybody in the dugout was really excited with Manny there, but Randy sort of neutralized it by the way he pitched," Torre said. "Our strength is still pitching. You hope with Manny's addition it helps our offense."

Kershaw left for an unsuccessful pinch-hitter after 89 pitches and was displeased with himself after a 28-pitch second inning.

Ramirez had two of the Dodgers six hits, although neither of them was terribly impressive. The first hit glanced off shortstop Stephen Drew's glove and the other came on a check-swing and was ruled a hit when Johnson was late covering first.

The Dodgers scored first when Juan Pierre, who along with Andre Ethier, are the odd-men out in the outfield scrum, led off the bottom of the sixth and reached base on second baseman Orlando Hudson's fielding error, then was picked off by Johnson as he broke for second but was safe on first baseman Tony Clark's wild throw.

Matt Kemp ripped a 3-1 pitch from Johnson for an RBI double to score Pierre and extend his hitting streak to 19 games. Then with two out, Ramirez bounced to Tony Clark at first base but Johnson was late off the mound to cover the bag.

Kemp, anticipating a throw to the pitcher, attempted to score from second but was nailed in a rundown when Clark had no one to throw to.

Kemp said, "If Tony throws the ball to Randy, I score. I anticipated him throwing the ball. He didn't."

The Dodgers offense did little else during the evening against Johnson and three DBack relievers.

With the skimpy, 1-0 lead Torre went to Chan Ho Park who has been a lock most of the season. Clark (who was 1-for-12 against Park) greeted him with a home run to tie the game. Park allowed a single and a walk before Joe Beimel jammed shortstop Steven Drew and he hit the chalk down the right field line for a double, a run and the game.

Then came the climax. Russell Martin led off he last of the ninth with a single to center field. Ramirez came to the plate amid a standing ovation by the 55,000+ Dodger fans with a chance to become a hero.

He gave it a shot, nearly jumping out of his shoes in an attempt to hit the ball into Glendale. Then, with an Orson Wells-type scenario, bounced into a 6-4-3 double play. Kemp popped up to end the game.

The Dodgers sold 30,000 tickets in the first 24 hours after it was announced he had been traded and have sold a truck-load of No. 99 jerseys with his name on them.

Ramirez impressed his teammates with a thunderous display of power during batting practice as he belted pitch after pitch into the seats.

And the fans cheered his every move.

He received a loud ovation when he came out of the dugout to warm up and when his name was read as part of the starting lineup and when he came out of the dugout to waive at the crowd and when he stepped into the on-deck circle in the first inning and when he led off in the second inning and during a video that highlighted his career and when he ran hard to first base when he grounded out and when he caught an easy fly to left field.

"It was like Boston," Ramirez said. "Everybody is cheering for you. People want you to make it."

What might have happened had he homered in the ninth to win the game is difficult to imagine. Keys to the city? The mayor's hand in marriage? A knighthood by Queen Elizabeth?

But to paraphrase the lady poet, "a loss is a loss is a loss" and, unfortunately, that's the bottom line.

The Dodgers lost for the 30th time while scoring one run and are 3-7 against the first-place Diamondbacks, with four of the past five losses by one run. They desperately need to win the two remaining games in the series.

In the first "must win" game of the season, suddenly-ineffective Hiroki Kuroda (5-8, 4.40 ERA) get the start. In his three starts since the All-Star break he is 0-2 with a horrendous 13.11 earned run average.

He's struggled against the National League West this season, compiling a 1-4 record with an 8.54 ERA in 32.2 innings over seven starts. He's yielded 10 runs (seven earned) on 17 hits over 7.2 innings in two outings against Arizona.

The Dodgers will face RHP Yusmeiro Petit (1-1, 2.55 ERA) who has pitched well in two spot starts this year. Against the Brewers on July 2, he allowed one run over six innings. His other start was July 22 against the Cubs and he allowed one run over five innings in that one.

 Score by innings
Arizona		 000 000 200-2
Los Angeles	 000 001 000-1

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Kemp rf	        4  0  1  1  .294
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
Blake 3b	4  0  0  0  .291
Martin c	4  0  1  0  .296
Ramirez lf	4  0  2  0  .500
Kent 2b	        4  0  0  0  .251
Loney 1b	3  0  1  0  .296
Jones cf	3  0  0  0  .161
Berroa ss	2  0  1  0  .204
 Ethier ph-rf	0  0  0  0  .274
Kershaw p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Pierre ph-rf	1  1  0  0  .274
 Park p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Sweeney ph	1  0  0  0  .118
 Ozuna ss	0  0  0  0  .271
  Totals	30 1 6 1
  Arizona	33 2 7 2	

 2b hits- Kemp (25). RBI- Kemp (58).
S- Kershaw. LOB- Los Angeles 4, Arizona
7. SB- Pierre (37). 

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kershaw	        6.0  4  0-0  1  3  4.02
Park (4-3)	0.1  2  2-2  1  0  2.66
Beimel	        0.0  1  0-0  0  0  1.76
Wade	        1.2  0  0-0  0  2  2.63
Broxton	        1.0  0  0-0  0  0  3.11
 T- 2:51. Att- 55,239.
Manny the Greatest?
Ramirez finished his first game with his new team sporting a .500 batting average and we were asked if we thought that Manny was the greatest position player -- statistically -- who ever played for the club. We were inclined to say "yes" but would like to ask your opinion. How do you feel about it? We welcome your comments. click here to tell us about it.

Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers placed Nomar Garciaparra on the 15-day disabled list, and he won't be eligible play until Aug. 12. Nomar is apparently not happy with the move, but they need him to be 100-percent healthy before taking the field again. ...Ramirez, who was given uniform #99 since his #24 worn in Boston belongs to Walt Alston and was retired. He also said he would cut his dreadlocks after Torre asked him how important they were. He said that he didn't want to be treated any differently from anyone else, and if there are rules in place, he plans to abide by them. He wore them in the first game, but they will (might?) be gone tonight. ...The Dodgers' two consecutive losses to the DBacks puts them three games behind in the National League West for the first time since trailing by 3 1/2 games after play on June 30. ...Kemp, in extended his hitting streak to 19 games, is hitting .359 with five homers and 11 RBIs. He's also hit safely in 26 of 27 games. ...First-base coach Mariano Duncan was ejected at the end of the fifth inning for arguing with first base umpire Derryl Cousins. ...The Dodgers will celebrate the franchise's 1980s teams throughout the weekend, starting with a luncheon on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers legends including Tommy Lasorda, Bill Madlock, Tim Leary, Kenny Landreaux, Jerry Reuss, Bobby Castillo, Terry Whitfield, Rudy Law and Derrel Thomas are expected to attend. ...Friday marked the 26-year anniversary of Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully being inducted into the Hall of Fame. ...Juan Pierre hosted 40 kids from the After-School All-Stars-Los Angeles before the game.

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