Manny Corrects a Flaw and Padres Pay for it

Sometimes professional teams have difficulty realizing that a happy-go-lucky player is not always uninterested or stupid. And those who watch Manny Ramirez go about his business may have the same thoughts in mind but that is far from the case. He picked up a flaw in his swing by watching video and his two-run double in the seventh gave L.A. a 5-2 in over the Padres.

After starting the season 1-for-7, Ramirez spent a long time in front of the television and he wasn't watching Gilligan Island reruns.

"When you play a six-month season and can't practice as much, you have to constantly check video to make sure everything's right -- that your feet are in the same place, your hands," he said after knocking in his first three runs of the young season. "Because I didn't play much in spring training, I have to check even more that everything's where it's supposed to be.

"My hands were too far away and I tried to fix it before the game. I watched at-bats, watched what I did last year. Sometimes my hands are not in the right place."

Ramirez made the proper corrections and in the seventh he hit a screaming shot into right-center field after Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson opening the inning with singles.

"Boom we needed that." manager Joe Torre said.

San Diego started 32-year-old Walter Silva, a career Mexican League pitcher, and the Dodgers had trouble getting a bead on him although he allowed a pair of hits and walked four in his five inning start.

But then the Padres staff allowed 10 hits and walked eight and it took a Ramirez double in the seventh to break the game open. Los Angeles batters left 10 on base and they were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Russ Martin left six on base, while Furcal, Ethier and Kemp left three each.

Furcal led the game off with a double and scored on Ramirez's ground ball and Casey Blake his a towering home run in the second inning to make it 2-0 but Silva held off the Dodgers over the next three innings.

Starter Chad Billingsley was having little trouble with the Padres and took the 2-0 lead into the fifth inning. He had allowed just two singles and thrown 65 pitches, 43 for strikes. He then issued three consecutive walks.

With the bases loaded and no one out, Jody Gerut then helped him by hitting the first pitch he saw into a run-scoring force play and a sacrifice fly by David Eckstein tied the score. Loney cut off center fielder Matt Kemp's throw, ran Gerut trying back to second base and threw the ball to Hudson who tagged him out to end the inning.

"I was happy we could get out of that inning with only two runs," said Billingsley, who held the Padres to two hits over six innings. "I was relieved."

Ramirez's line drive cleared the head of Brian Giles in right field to make it 4-2 and later a single to right by James Loney extended the Dodgers' lead to 5-2.

The Dodgers' bullpen had a third-straight solid effort, with Cory Wade, Hong-Chih Kuo and Jonathan Broxton each working a scoreless inning.

Broxton recorded his second save while using only nine pitches. He struck out two, blowing Chase Headley away with a 99-mph fastball to end the game.

"Overall, I felt good," Billingsley (1-0)said after the game. "I settled in until the fifth where I couldn't seem to locate or find my rhythm. I was able to get out of it with limited damage, only two runs. That was huge, and it doesn't get much better than James cutting it off and getting them in a rundown. That was a huge play right there."

Loney went got two of the Dodgers 10 hits and his batting average "slipped" to .500. Furcal, Hudson and Ramirez also had two hits. Catcher Russell Martin went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and is 1-for-11 with five strikeouts in the first three games. He jammed his left hand sliding headfirst into shortstop Everth Cabrera's foot while being thrown out trying to steal second after walking in the sixth inning.

The two clubs meet again in an afternoon game today with lefty Clayton Kershaw drawing the start for the Dodgers.

 Score by innings
Los Angeles	110 000 300-5
San Diego	000 020 000-2

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	5  2  2  0  .286	
Hudson 2b	5  1  2  0  .250
Ramirez lf	4  1  2  3  .273
Ethier rf	2  0  0  0  .200
Martin c	4  0  0  0  .091
Loney 1b	5  0  2  1  .500
Kemp cf	        4  0  1  0  .364
Blake 3b	4  1  1  1  .111
Billingsley p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Pierre ph	1  0  0  0  .000
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Loretta ph	0  0  0  0  .000
 Kuo p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
--------------------------------
 Totals	        34 5 10 5
 San Diego	28 2  3 2

 Two-base hits- Furcal (1), Ramirez (2).
HR- Blake (1). RBI- Ramirez 3 (3), Blake (2),
Loney (3). SB- Ethier (1), CS- Martin (1).
LOB- Los Angeles 10, San Diego 4. DP- Kemp,
Loney and Hudson.

 Los Angeles	   in  h r-er bb so  era
Billingsley (1-0)  6.0  2  2-2  4  4  3.00
Wade	           1.0  1  0-0  0  1  0.00
Kuo	           1.0  0  0-0  0  1  0.00
Broxton	           1.0  0  0-0  0  2  0.00
 WP- Wade. T- 2:33. Att- 31,700.
Dodger Blue Notes --The Dodgers re-signed Greg Miller and assigned him to Inland Empire where Charlie Hough, the Mr. Fixit of the club's pitching corps, is in charge of re-adjusting out of sync hurlers. ...Manager Joe Torre will give Rafael Furcal and slumping Russ Martin a breather today and Blake DeWitt and Brad Ausmus will get their first starts in the afternoon game. ...Jason Schmidt threw 89 pitches in an intrasquad game at Camelback Ranch, working for the fourth consecutive game on four days rest. Everyone is holding their breath, but if he can come back on Monday, he could be assigned to Albuquerque and get back in the battle. ...Naysayers who said the Dodgers bullpen was weak have noticed they have worked nine scoreless innings in the first three games and Jonathan Broxton has retired all six batters he has faced and struck out six of them while recording two saves. ...Third baseman Andy LaRoche was not in the Pittsburgh Pirates' lineup, a day after he dropped a pop-up for his third error in the first two games of the season. The former Dodger is also 0-for-6 at the plate against the St. Louis Cardinals. ...Another former Dodger, Dave Roberts, started his broadcasting career for Comcast Sports Network in the San Francisco area and will be doing radio work for the Padres. ...Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb was scratched from his scheduled start Saturday against the visiting Dodgers because of right-shoulder stiffness. The Colorado Rockies roughed him up in his first start.

This Day in History
April 9, 1913 - The Dodgers played their first official game with only 12,000 in attendance on a cold day in Ebbets Field and Nap Rucker lost 1-0 to Philadelphia. Outfield Benny Meyer dropped a pop fly in the fitst inning to allow the only run.

April 9, 1947 - Brooklyn manger Leo Durocher was suspended for one year by commissioner Happy Chandler for "conduct detrimental to baseball." The suspension kept Durocher away during Jackie Robinson's first Major League season.

April 9, 1970 - Wayne Simpson of Cincinnati became the first rookie to shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers in his first start.

April 9 - 1971 - Bill Singer lost 6-3 to San Diego in the home opener on the 10th anniversary of Dodger Stadium.

April 9, 1976 - Dusty Baker, obtained from Houston for OF Jimmy Wynn, hits a homer in his first Dodger at-bat in a 4-2 loss at San Francisco.

April 9, 1981 - Jerry Reuss pulls a calf muscle and the Dodgers give the start to rookie Fernando Valenzuela, who shuts out the Braves 2-0 in the first of five shutouts and eight straight wins to start the season.

April 9, 1991 - MLB average salary on Opening Day reaches a record $891,188, with 223 players making at least $1 million.


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