Manny's Five Makes Magic Number Five

The Dodgers walked a little closer to NL West title last night. No, literally, they walked 11 times during a 10-7 win over the Giants and Manny Ramirez knocked in five of them with a pair of homers to cut their magic number to five.

Fourteen pitcher paraded to the mound during the four-hour plus game, eight wearing San Francisco on their jerseys. They collectively walked 15, allowed 22 hits, threw a staggering 374 pitches and left 22 men on base.

To an impartial observer it wasn't a thing of beauty but it suited the Dodgers just fine, thank you, and closed the door just a bit further on Arizona who won in Colorado.

Then, of course, there was The Manny.

Mr. Ramirez, who might be an overwhelming winner if he decided to run for Mayor of Los Angeles, or almost any other elective position, was pleased to see all those runners on base and slammed a three run homer in a five-run third, then added a second long shot, his 16th in Dodger Blue, with two on in the eighth to spark the win.

Manny drew a pair of curtain calls and the loud chant of "MVP" from his devoted followers, which is pretty much everyone.

It now seems to be his team, a burden he carries cheerfully on his shoulders as he tortures National League pitchers who just don't know how to handle him.

Matt Kemp added his 17th homer with a man on base and Angel Berroa was 0-for-4 but still earned a pair of RBI. Pinch-hitter Delwyn Young collected an RBI with when he walked with the bases loaded.

Hiroki Kuroda lead the Dodgers' pitching parade, allowing eight hits and three runs in four innings. A tired Chan Ho Park was tacked with a pair of runs without getting anyone out in the fifth.

Joe Beimel, Takashi Saito (4-3) and Cory Wade all added scoreless innings and Jon Broxton worked the ninth and allowed two unearned runs courtesy of Berroa's error.

The first three batters Kuroda faced -- Randy Winn, Nate Schierholtz and Rich Aurilia -- singled to load the bases. Kuroda fanned Bengie Molina on three pitches but then walked Travis Ishikawa to force in the first run of the night. He finally ended the inning with a double play after throwing 31 pitches.

San Francisco took a 2-0 lead in the third. But in the bottom of the inning, Russell Martin walked and Kuroda, who was 2-for-2 in the game, singled for the Dodgers' second hit of the game. With one out, Manny tied the game with a shot into the right field seats.

Casey Blake walked with two out and Kemp lined a long drive into the left field pavilion for a 5-2 lead.

Park took over in the fifth after Kuroda allowed a double to lead off the inning. Cha Ho gave up a single and a pair of walks to force in a run before Joe Beimel was called in. His wild pitch tied the game 5-5.

In the seventh, Manny walked and James Loney singled. Pinch-hitter Nomar Garciaparra and Berroa walked to each force in a run to break the tie and Young's walk gave the Dodgers a 7-5 lead.

Ether walked and Manny homered to make it 9-5 in the eighth. They added the last run when Loney walked and Kemp was safe on an error. Chin-Lung Hu picked up the Dodgers' 11th walk and Berroa' grounder added the last run.

Broxton fanned Dave Roberts for the final out with runners on second and third.

Kuroda was charged with three runs on eight hits. His poor start came one night after Greg Maddux allowed seven runs in five innings, and after Chad Billingsley allowed six earned runs in the previous start.

Ramirez's 16th home run in 47 games as a Dodger puts him in an elite group. He is one of only five players to hit at least 15 home runs with two different teams in the same season. The others are Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, David Justice and Carlos Beltran.

It was the 53rd multihomer game of his career.

Ramirez, who has 526 lifetime homers to rank 17th on baseball's career list, now has 50 RBIs and a .404 batting average in 47 games with the Dodgers. He has 36 homers and 118 RBIs in 147 games overall this year.

"Nothing he does surprises anybody. I don't know where we'd be without him," said Matt Kemp.

Sure you do Matt.

By winning for the 16th time in 20 games, the Dodgers remained 3 1/2 games ahead of second-place Arizona with seven remaining. Any combination of five Los Angeles wins or losses by the Diamondbacks will give the Dodgers their first division title since 2004 and just their fifth playoff berth in the last 20 years.

The Dodgers will send Derek Lowe (14-11, 3.40 ERA) to the mound today, looking for the series win.

?Lowe cruised through seven innings in his last start in Pittsburgh. He's won his last four decisions and six of his last seven. His ERA over his last 47.2 innings is innings is 1.13, dropping his overall ERA from 4.10 to 3.40.

He will be opposed by RHP Matt Cain (8-13, 3.91 ERA).?After a 7.71 ERA in his previous four starts, Cain allowed Arizona only two runs and seven hits in seven innings. He's 0-5 against the Dodgers lifetime, including 0-2 with a 3.51 ERA this year.

 Score by innings
San Francisco	101 020 002- 7
Los Angeles	005 000 23x-10

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Martin c	4  1  0  0  .276
Ethier rf	2  1  0  0  .300
Ramirez lf	4  2  3  5  .404
 Repko lf	0  0  0  0  .154
Loney 1b	4  2  1  0  .294
Blake 3b	4  1  1  0  .294
Kemp cf	        5  2  1  2  .291
DeWitt 2b	3  0  1  0  .260
 Garciaparra ph	0  0  0  0  .252
 Hu 2b	        0  0  0  0  .161
Berroa ss	4  0  0  2  .237
Kuroda p	2  1  2  0  .154
 Park p	        0  0  0  0  .111
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Pierre ph	1  0  0  0  .272
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Young ph	0  0  0  1  .000
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Sweeney ph	1  0  0  0  .136
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	34 10 9 10
  San Francisco	40  7 13 8

 Error- DeWitt (10). HR- Ramirez 2 (16), 
Kemp (17), RBI- Ramirez 5 (49), Kemp 2 (73), 
Berroa 2 (14), Young (7). lOB- Los Angeles 
11, San Francisco 11. DP- Berroa and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kuroda	        4.0  8  3-3  1  5  3.84
Park	        0.0  1  2-2  2  0  2.99
Beimel	        2.0  1  0-0  0  2  2.11
Saito (4-3)	1.0  0  0-0  0  0  2.23
Wade	        1.0  0  0-0  0  0  2.28
Broxton	        1.0  2  3-0  0  2  3.14	
 WP- Beimel. HBP- by Kuroda. T- 4:03. 
Att- 55,724.
Rotation to be Announced
Torre said he would announce his pitching rotation for the final week of the season today. Monday's off day would allow the Dodgers to skip a starter, and that starter would almost certainly be Greg Maddux, who was hit hard in two of his last three starts.

"When a decision like that is made, everybody who is involved in that decision pretty much knows," Torre said. "It comes down to having to spell it out, but a guy like Maddux, or other guys who have been around, they look around. They know the situation."

?Dodger Blue Notes
--The Dodgers own the best record in baseball (16-4) since Aug. 30. Entering Saturday, they also owned a Major League-best 2.92 ERA and have held opponents to a big league-low .229 batting average. The offense ranks second during the span with a .286 batting average behind only the Giants (.289). ...The Dodgers guaranteed themselves at least a .500 season for the eighth time in nine years with Saturday's victory. ...Los Angeles owns a 21-7 record at Dodger Stadium since the All-Star break, the best National League home record in that time, but it would have to win out to reach 50 home wins for the first time since 1991. ...Ethier is hitting .591 (13-for-22) with a triple and three RBIs against Cain, and Kemp is 6-for-13 (.462) with a double and triple against the right-hander. ...The Dodgers honored Minor League Player of the Year Ivan De Jesus and Pitcher of the Year James McDonald on the field before Saturday's game. ...Hall of Famer Tom Lasorda, who managed the Dodgers from 1977-96 and is now a club executive, was presented with a giant birthday cake before the game. He turns 81 Monday. ...The Dodgers will celebrate Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday by raffling off more than 150 prizes throughout the game.

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