New Guys Key 8-6 Win Over Phillie

The Dodgers' two newest members, Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake, each knocked in a pair of runs as the Dodgers scored six in the third inning, then held on to beat the N.L. East-leading Phillies 8-6 in the first game of an important 10-game homestand. The win pulls them back to .500 (59-59) and within one run of Arizona.

Derek Lowe (9-10), with a reputation as a second-half pitcher, bounced back after two tough starts and won his ninth game while working into the seventh inning and the L.A. bullpen held on despite a Philadelphia comeback that saw them tag Jonathan Broxton for a pair of runs in the ninth and bring the tying run to the plate before he could nail it down for his eighth save.

The club didn't leave it all to Manny in this game, smacking 16 hits after struggling on the road trip to provide a backup to Ramirez's solo gig. Matt Kemp, Jeff Kent and James Loney each contributed three hits and five RBI to the attack, giving Lowe an unaccustomed run cushion.

The longest homestand (where they are now 34-27 in Dodger Stadium) of the year looms big as the Dodgers and Snakes roll around desperately on the National League infield grass. They played 10 straight in Dodger Stadium during late July and early August, winning seven of them, and a like performance is crucial.

After the homestand they will only have 35 games left in the season, with 23 of them on the road were the club is six games below .500 at 26-32.

After losing a pair of games in San Francisco that would have put them (finally) in front of the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers were seemingly at a crossroad. Another loss could have sent them into a death spiral that could have ended the season prematurely.

But the six-run third inning that broke a scoreless tie was something of a trademark of this team, struggling, losing games they should have won but then battling back into the race.

With one out in the third, Kemp beat out an infield hit and stole second, his 28th of the season. Andre Ethier walked and Jeff Kent was hit by a pitch for a team-leading seventh time.

The large Dodgers crowd was on their feet, imploring Ramirez to do mething and he obliged, smashing a double over the head of the center fielder to drive in the first two runs of the game. That ran his total to 13 RBI in 10 games to go with his .475 average.

Loney then singled to center, scoring Ramirez and Kent, and Russell Martin also singled with Loney being thrown out at the plate. Casey Blake picked the team back up with a long home run over the center field wall, his third since joining Los Angeles, and Lowe took the 6-0 lead into the fourth inning.

Kemp singled, Ethier walked and Kent's RBI single made it 7-0.

The Phillies broke into the scoring column in the top of the sixth when former Dodger minor leaguer Shane Victorino walked and scored on Ryan Howard's double, his 100th RBI of the season. In the seventh, another former Dodger, Jayson Werth, doubled and Lowe retired the next batter before manager Joe Torre called on Park.

He served up an RBI single and a triple that was misjudged by Ethier with two out that closed the score to 7-4.

Pedro Ozuna, a defensive replacement for Jeff Kent, singled and moved to third on a Ramirez shot into right field before Loney doubled to left field to make it 8-4. Ramirez was out at home on Blake's ground ball and Berroa bounced into a double play to end the inning.

Broxton, who had retired the final Philadelphia batter in the eighth, gave up an opening single in the ninth, and with two out Victorino beat out an infield hit and Chase Utley singled them both in. The Dodgers, again playing three infielders on the right side of the infield, retired Howard on a ground ball to Ozuna in the hole at second base.

The shift surprised Lowe. "I didn't even know we were going to do it," he said. "I never even thought about it. They came to me before the game and said, `What do you think about a shift?' I said, `I'll leave it up to you guys. You know the spray charts better than I do.' It helped us three times."

Howard, the 2006 NL MVP, has reached 100 RBIs for the third consecutive sean and tied for the league lead. He is batting .347 since April 29 with runners in scoring position, although he was 0-for-4 in those situations in this game.

The homestand continues against the Phillies, with Milwaukee and Colorado to follow for three games each.

Matchups for the rest of the Philadelphia series:
Tonight LHP Cole Hamels (9-8, 3.35) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-3, 3.71)
Wednesday RHP Joe Blanton (1-0, 3.27) vs. RHP Brad Penny (6-9, 5.66)
Thursday RHP Brett Myers (4-9, 5.34) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (6-8,

 Score by innings
Philadelphia	000 101 202-6
Los Angeles	006 100 01x-8

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Kemp cf	        4  2  3  0  .298
Ethier rf	3  1  0  0  .273
Kent 2b	        3  1  3  2  .268
 Ozuna pr-2b	1  1  1  0  .200
Ramirez lf	3  1  2  2  .475
Loney 1b	4  0  3  3  .299
Martin c	3  1  1  0  .286
Blake 3b	5  1  2  2  .295
Berroa ss	5  0  0  0  .202
Lowe p	        2  0  0  0  .170
 Park p	        0  0  0  0  .111
 Pierre ph	1  0  1  0  .279
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	34 8 16 8
  Philadelphia	37 6 10 6

 2b hits- Ramirez (3), Kent (21), Loney (29).
HR- Blake (3). RBI- Ramirez (13), Loney 3
(67), Blake 2 (7), Kent (52). S- Lowe. SB-
Kemp (28), CS- Pierre (8). LOB- Los Angeles
12, Philadelphia 7. 

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb   era
Lowe (9-10)	6.1  5  3-3  1  3  4.11
Park        	0.2  2  1-1  0  2  2.70
Beimel        	0.2  0  0-0  1  1  1.93
Broxton (sv 8)	1.1  3  2-2  1  2  3.65
 HBP- Kent. T- 3:16/ Att- 45.547.
Jones May Go on DL
Andruw Jones has irritation of the patellar tendon in his right knee and could be placed on the DL to make room for Nomar Garciaparra, who is expected to be activated. That would mean a minor-league rehab assignment for Jones and perhaps a chance to get his mechanics straightened out.

Dodgers officials haven't asked him to go down before he was hurt but this the perfect chance to get him a number of swings without any pressure.

Torre in Seventh Place
Manager Joe Torre tied Joe McCarthy for seventh place on the all-time managerial chart when he picked up career win No. 2,126 with the Dodgers 8-6 win over the Phillies.

Torre, in his first year in Los Angeles, has managed for 27 years in the Majors, at the helm of the Mets, Braves, Cardinals and, most recently, the Yankees for the past 12 seasons, in which he won 1,173 games. No manager owns more playoff victories than Torre's 76.

McCarthy also spent the bulk of his career with the Yankees, whom he managed to seven World Series in his 16 years with the club from 1931-46. He also led the Cubs and Red during a 24-year career that ended in 1950.

We've Got a Winner -- George Hewitt asked "Two players have represented the National League in the All-Star Game while playing with the Dodgers and the Giants. Who are they?" Roy Lieberman was the first to send us the correct answer, Jeff Kent and Tom Haller. A number of subscribers named Kent, with Don Bernhardt being first with that part of the answer, but many guessed Todd Hundley instead of Haller.

Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers' protest of last Wednesday night's game in St. Louis was officially denied by the commissioner's office. It goes in the books as a loss. That was the result club officials expected. The protest stems from the eighth inning when the Dodgers tried to change pinch hitters after a pitching change. Torre wanted to send Kent to the plate but Mark Sweeney had already entered the batter's box. ...Arizona swapped their No. 1 draft pick in 2006 for slugger Adam Dunn of Cincinnati. Dunn, 28, is tied for the Major League lead in homers with 32 to go along with 74 RBIs. The D-backs are 10th in the National League with 534 runs scored and 12th with 113 homers. Dunn is in the final year of a contract that paid him $13 million this year. ...Cincinnati designated catcher David Ross for assignment.