Ramirez, Ethier Help Hammer Padres 8-4

Dodgers manage Joe Torre has stopped looking for the down side of Manny Ramirez. After watching the 12-time All-Star batter National League pitching and delight his teammates with his work ethic and lighthearted manner, he now has to be wondering who that guy was that rumored to have caused all that trouble trying to get out of Boston.

Manny was being Manny again, slugging a homer (#10) and driving in three runs and the Dodgers, seemingly back from the dead after a nightmare 0-8 streak on the road, closed to 1 1/2 games of the Arizona Diamondbacks who lost to St. Louis.

"It's been great for me, having Manny on my side," Torre said. "Although he terrorized me for 12 years in New York, it's nice to see other managers wrestling with their decisions about whether to pitch to him or not. And the month he's been here, he's been A-No. 1 for us."

Ramirez reached the 30-homer mark for the 12th time. The only players who have done it more often were Hank Aaron (15), Barry Bonds (14), Babe Ruth (13) and Mike Schmidt (13).

Ramirez, moved up to third in the order last week because of Jeff Kent's sore left knee, opened the scoring in the first with a home run into the pavilion seats in left-center after a single by Ethier.

The next time Ramirez came up, after Ethier's leadoff triple in the third, Cha Seung Baek's first pitch drove Ramirez out of the batter's box. Umpire Jerry Meals quickly issued a warning to both dugouts.

The Dodgers worked Baek (4-9) for 71 pitches before he left with two out in the fourth inning, having allowed seven runs on eight hits.

Manny wasn't the only offensive force in a game that saw the Dodgers collect 11 hits.

Andre Ethier had three hits including a homer (#19) and a triple, coming up short on his final at-bat needing a double to complete the cycle. He singled in the first, tripled in the third, and lined a shot over the center field wall in the sixth. He scored four runs during the game.

Ethier, whose wife Maggie is expecting the couple's first child this month, came up in the eighth needing a double to join Wes Parker as the only Dodgers to hit for the cycle since the franchise moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958. But he grounded out to second.

Ethier had no idea that Parker had the only cycle in the L.A. record book. "I wish you would have told me before that at-bat" he told a writer. "Maybe I would have bore down just a little bit more," he said with a smile.

James Loney singled twice and knocked in two runs, running his hitting streak to 13 games; Blake DeWitt banged his sixth home run and Russell Martin chipped in with an RBI.

Rookie Clayton Kershaw (5-3) shook off his last two rocky starts, pitching well into the eighth inning to earn his third victory of the season and push the Dodgers winning streak to four. Displaying an effective change, he took a no-hitter into the fifth and a shutout into the seventh, finally allowing a run and three hits over the first seven innings before running out of gas.

Kershaw, who struck out six, was pulled after walking the first two batters in the eighth on his 99th pitch. Ramon Troncoso gave up a double that scored both runners and a two-run single in the eighth before Joe Beimel came to the rescue and restored order, adding a scoreless ninth.

San Diego had only one baserunner through the first four innings and that came on an error by shortstop Angel Berroa, the ball taking a strange hop, hitting him on the wrist and ending up inside his shirt.

Torre gave slumping Matt Kemp (1-for-11) the night off and started Juan Pierre in center field. In the seventh inning, Pierre injured his back running out a grounder to first and left the game. No injury report was available after the game.

Since the remarkable trade for Ramirez, the Dodgers are only 15-16 but no one can blame Manny for those results. He is hitting .414 with 29 RBIs in 31 games.

"I'm sure both sides are better for the separation," Torre said. "I mean, he seems happy here. I don't know what he was like when he was over there because I wasn't there. But they're playing well since he left and it's a lot calmer."

Ramirez's 520th career home run put him one behind Ted Williams, Willie McCovey and Oakland A's DH Frank Thomas, who are tied for 17th place all-time. Ramirez has 30 home runs this season, 10 since the trade on July 31.

His 1,701 career RBIs are one behind Reggie Jackson for 21st place all-time, and he needs just one for his 12th 100-RBI campaign. The record is 13, shared by Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx.

"Everybody's showing a lot of life, and it's been real fun," Beimel said. "That losing streak was kind of crazy. It was like we couldn't do anything right. We knew we were a better team than what we were showing, and I think everybody in here figured that once we snapped that streak that we'd win a bunch of games in a row and get back in it."

The Dodgers send RHP Hiroki Kuroda (7-10, 3.87 ERA) to the mound tonight to keep the momentum alive. In his last start he retired the first 10 Arizona batters he faced but a bloop single led to one run and a Nomar Garciaparra throwing error led to two more unearned runs he left after five innings, his shortest outing in a month.

San Diego will counter with LHP Wade LeBlanc, recalled Monday from Triple-A Portland, who will make his Major League debut in the final game of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium. LeBlanc was 11-9 with a 5.32 ERA with Portland this season, though he pitched better in the second half, going 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA.

 Score by innings
San Diego	000 000 130-4
Los Angeles	201 401 00x-8

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre cf	4  0  0  0  .274
 Kemp cf	0  0  0  0  .289
Ethier rf	4  4  3  1  .283
Ramirez lf	3  1  1  3  .414
 Repko lf	1  0  1  0  .125
Loney 1b	4  0  2  2  .307
Martin c	4  0  1  1  .282
Blake 3b	4  0  0  0  .270
 Hu 2b	        0  0  0  0  .159
DeWitt 2b-3b	2  1  2  1  .261
Berroa ss	3  1  1  0  .228
Kershaw p	1  1  0  0  .045
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	30 8 11 8
  San Diego	33 4  6 4

 Error- Berroa (6). Three-base hits- Ethier (4).
HR- Ramirez (10), DeWitt (6), Ethier (19). 
RBI-Ramirez 3 (29), DeWitt (38), Loney 2 (76),
Martin (57), Ethier (60). S- Pierre, Kershaw 3.
SF- Ramirez. SB- Repko (1). lOB- Los Angeles 9,
San Diego 5. DP- DeWitt, Hu and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kershaw (3-5)	7.0  3  3-3  3  6  4.50
Troncoso	0-0  2  1-1  0  0  4.64
Beimel	        2.0  1  0-0  0  1  2.20
 T- 2:44. Att- 39,330,
Dodger Blue Notes-- They removed damage cartilage from Jeff Kent's knee and he'll be able to start rehab immediately. ...Takashi Saito was moved to the 60-day DL after the game to clear a 40-man roster spot for A.J. Ellis, whose contract was purchased from Las Vegas. Saito had been on the 15-day since July 18 (retroactive to July 13), so he'll be eligible to be activated Sept. 11. That potentially could mean he is ready to pitch the next day in Colorado. ...The Dodgers improved to 48-6 when scoring five or more runs, the fourth-best mark behind only the Cubs, Cardinals and Rays. The Dodgers have now scored five or more runs in four straight games twice this season, going undefeated in both of the streaks. ...James Loney's two-run single extended his hitting streak to 13. He's hitting .453 during that stretch to raise his team-high batting average to .307. ...The Dodgers lead the Padres 6-5 in their season series. They have not won a season series against San Diego since 2005. ...Los Angeles has won 11 of 14 overall at Dodger Stadium. ...After homering three times on Tuesday, the Dodgers have surpassed their opponents' season homer total. Los Angeles has outhomered its opposition 9-1 in its last four games. ...Fans attending tonight's game will receive a Dodgers fleece blanket depicting the Award of Excellence Star on Hollywood Boulevard the club received earlier this year. ...Geri Halliwell, formerly known as Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls, threw out a ceremonial first pitch on Tuesday. ...Loney hosted a group of kids from Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities Los Angeles on Tuesday as part of his community initiative Loney's Lounge. ?