Presidential Slogan: 'Manny's Great in 2008'

OK, so it might be a stretch to think Manny Ramirez could draw enough write-in votes to contend for the presidency, but there were over 200,000 in Dodger Stadium during the series with Arizona who would certainly be good campaign workers.

Ramirez banged out four hits, drove in three, scored two and even received an ovation when he struck out in the seventh inning as the Dodgers pulled back within a game of first place with a 9-3 win.

Ramirez singled in a run in the first inning, doubled in a run in the second, homered in the fifth, struck out in the seventh and beat out an infield hit and scored in the eighth.

Matt Kemp added three hits to the mix, including his 13th homer of the season and two RBI. Russell Martin, James Loney, Casey Blake and Pablo Ozuna all knocked in a run.

Apparently, hitting is as contagious as the chicken pox and the Dodgers have been exposed to Manny's child-like enjoyment of the game and apparently like it.

Jason Johnson and his 1.38 ERA drew the start but he stumbled in the second inning, allowing a pair of runs with two out, one of which was by the Diamondback's pitcher. Johnson is the 10th starter the Dodgers have called upon this season.

Leading 5-2 in the fourth, Johnson served up a home run and then walked the next man and was given the hook two outs from a possible win by Manager Joe Torre.

There is no margin for sentiment at this time of the season.

The Dodgers jumped out 2-0 in the first on a single by Kemp, a walk to Martin and RBI singles by Ramirez and Loney. After the DBacks tied the game, two-out RBI hits by Kemp, Martin and Ramirez drove in three more in the second.

Ramirez shot driven well up the left-field pavilion in the fifth made it 6-3. The homer, his 512th and second with the Dodgers in three games, was measured at 436-feet.

Loney doubled and scored in the seventh on Blake's single and in the ninth, Kemp lined a drive into the right center field seats. Ramirez proved he could hit 'em long and hit 'em short, beating out a ground ball before Ozuna's triple made it 9-3.

With Jonathan Broxton resting his tired arm, Torre used Brian Falkenborg, Cory Wade (who earned his second win of the season), Hong-Chih Kuo and Ramon Troncoso to blank the Snakes the rest of the game.

The Dodgers improved to 55-54 and will embark on a six game trip starting Tuesday in St. Louis and ending with three in San Francisco. Since 2005 the Dodgers are 5-15 against the Cardinals and have lost eight of the last nine in St. Louis.

It begins a stretch of playing 13 days in a row and in 29 of 30 days through September 3. The lone off day in that stretch comes August 18.

Pitching probables:
Tuesday RHP Chad Billingsley (11-9, 3.05) vs. RHP Chris Carpenter (0-0, 2.25)
Wednesday RHP Derek Lowe (8-9, 3.70) vs. RHP Joel Pineiro (3-5, 5.04)
Thursday LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-3, 4.02) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (13-3, 3.73)

 Score by innings
Arizona	        020 010 000-3
Los Angeles	230 010 12x-9

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre cf-lf	5  0  1  0  .280
Kemp rf        	5  3  3  2  .295
Martin c	4  2  1  1  .295
Ramirez lf	5  2  4  3  .615
 Jones cf	0  0  0  0  .161
Kent 2b        	4  0  1  0  .254
 Ozuna 2b	1  0  1  1  .282
Loney 1b	4  1  2  1  .300
Blake 3b	4  0  2  1  .364
Berroa ss	3  1  1  0  .212
Johnson p	1  0  0  0  .000
 Falkenborg p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Sweeney ph	1  0  0  0  .116
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Kuo p	        1  0  0  0  .300
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	38 9 16 9
  Arizona	34 3  8 3

 2b hits- Ramirez (1), Loney (27). 3b
hits- Ozuna (1). HR- Ramirez (2). RBI-
Ramirez 3 (5), Loney (61), Kemp 2 (60),
Martin (53), Blake (2), Ozuna (7). S-
Johnson. LOB- Los Angeles 9, Arizona 7.
SB- Martin (11). DP- Kent, Berroa and 

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Johnson	        4.1  5  3-3  2  2  2.60
Falkenborg	0.2  0  0-0  0  1  4.91
Wade (2-1)	1.2  2  0-0  0  1  2.54
Kuo        	1.1  0  0-0  0  1  1.85
Troncoso	1.0  1  0-0  1  1  5.40
 WP- Troncoso. T- 3:21. Att- 52,972.
Minor Rehab for Jones?-- There is talk about Andruw Jones finishing his minor league rehab, at least the two weeks he cut short to return to the big club, but nothing official has been announced. The suggestion would probably be bounced off his agent (Scott Boros) before Jones would get into the mix but the thought is making the daily papers and he will find out about the suggestion soon if he hasn't already.

Manager Joe Torre's diplomatic answer to the question about sending Jones out to redefine his swing: "We're trying to fix Andruw. He is going to have to do it off the bench at this point in time. He is working on some stuff with (hitting coaches) Jeff (Pentland) and Donnie (Mattingly). But long-term, I think we're going to have to see some signs to get him back to regular status at this point in time."

At this point, Jones is an $18 million defensive replacement for the late innings. Just think about a lineup that includes both Manny Ramirez and the former Andruw Jones.

Quote of the Day-- "Don isn't going to tell you what you want to hear. He will tell you what he sees. Some players don't like that. They want to hear that they took a good swing when they rolled the ball over, and that's not a good swing. As a coach, your job is obviously to root for these guys, but at least be honest. If you can't be honest, you're not doing your job as a coach, and you're definitely doing a disservice to the athlete."—Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa on what to expect from new hitting coach Don Mattingly.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Attendance for the three games played by Manny Ramirez hit 162,775, an average of 54,252. ...The Dodgers split their four-game series against the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks and went 7-3 on the 10-game homestand. They finished the homestand 32-27 at Dodger Stadium. ...The Dodgers connected for a season-high 16 hits at Dodger Stadium for the second time. They also had 16 hits April 25 vs. Colorado. ...The Dodgers pitching staff posted a 1.80 ERA (18 ER/90.0 IP) during the 10-game homestand…the Dodgers staff has a 2.86 ERA (173 ER/544.0 IP) in 59 games overall at Dodger Stadium, the best home ERA in the Majors. The staff held the Arizona 3-4-5 batters to only one hit over the four games. ...The Dodgers continued their celebration of their six decades in Los Angeles by remembering the 1980s. They hosted a special '80s meet-and-greet luncheon in the Stadium Club, where Dodger legends of the 80s told stories and answered questions from the fans. Those who participated in the luncheon included Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda, Steve Sax, Bill Russell, Bob Welch, Fernando Valenzuela, Jerry Reuss, Jose Vizcaino, Ken Howell, Kenny Landreaux, Manny Mota, Mariano Duncan, Rick Honeycutt, Ron Cey, Rudy Law, and Steve Garvey. Kirk Gibson, the Arizona bench coach, also made a surprise appearance. ...Andy LaRoche smacked a two-run homer for the Pirates that tied the game 5-5 in the eighth inning and and started two double plays but Pittsburgh lost 8-5 to the Cubs. ... T

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