Ramirez Doubles The Dodgers' Fun

Manny Ramirez reached base five times on three doubles and a pair of walks, scored two runs, and twice led off an inning with a two-base hit. Andre Ethier doubled him in with the go-ahead run in the ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie, and the Dodgers beat San Francisco 5-3 to avoid losing three straight for the first time in this young season.

When the Giants started the season 2-7, many Dodger fans felt (hoped?) the Giants and their pitching staff had been greatly over-rated. However, before last night they were on a 7-2 tear and their starters held a 1.37 earned run average over that time. Jonathan Sanchez lowered the number even further after working five innings and not allowing an earned run.

Until the ninth inning, two of the Dodgers three runs were unearned and the other came in on a bases-loaded walk. So much for being over-rated.

Dodger Starter Chad Billingsley took a 3-2 lead into the eighth before he ran out of gas and Jonathan Broxton, called on early, walked in two of the first three he faced and forced in the tying run, blowing his first save in seven opportunities.

Billingsley battled through 7.1 innings on a night when he didn't have his best stuff. He dodged bullet after bullet, proving once again that he is maturing as a pitcher because he now has the ability to improvise. He left runners on base in the first three innings before retiring eight in a row.

He stranded runners in the sixth and seventh before leaving in the eighth with one out and two on base. "I didn't have my best stuff, but I got through it," he said. "I made pitches when I had to and the guys made great plays behind me."

Two of them were double plays. Loney grabbed a line drive and doubled Travis Ishikawa off third base and in the seventh Russ Martin and Furcal combined four a strike out-throw out D.P

Neither team was outstanding with runners on. L.A. was 4-for-16 with runners in scoring position and the Giants were 1-for-10. Casey Blake ended up leaving seven runners dangling and Jose Uribe did him one better by leaving eight.

Ramirez led off the top of the ninth inning with his third double of the night. "They call me double-maniac," said Ramirez, 3-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. "I set the table now. Ethier is the hitting machine. He's the RBI man."

Ramirez took third on a wild pitch and scored on Ethier's booming one-out double to center, after a 10-pitch at-bat that included four two-strike foul balls.

Matt Kemp followed with a triple to the deepest part of AT&T Park in right-center to score Ethier. It was Kemp's third triple of the young season.

James Loney knocked in two runs to give him 16 and Matt Kemp also drove in a run (his 15th) for the Dodgers. Ethier is the team leader with 21.

Lefty Will Ohman needed only nine pitches to work a perfect ninth earn a save in his first opportunity with the Dodgers. "This was a nice one to lock down," Ohman said. "My job was to come in and get three outs and I did and that's all it was."

Ramirez opened the ninth against Bob Howry (0-2) with his third double. Ethier followed one out later with Ethier's double and Matt Kemp's triple.

Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley pitched 7.1 innings in search of his fifth win of the season, allowing three runs and seven hits, striking out eight.

Loney gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single that scored Ethier who was on second after Fred Lewis' two-base error.

The Giants scored twice in the third when Billingsley hit Lewis with a pitch and Randy Winn singled. Rafael Furcal's error allowed the tying run and Travis Ishikawa's two-out single put the Giants on top 2-1.

The Giants gave a run back in the fourth after Ethier had singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. With one out, Jose Uribe threw James Loney's ground ball away.

Ramirez doubled to lead off the seventh, Ethier walked, Kemp singled to load the bases and Loney coaxed a walk to put L.A. in front 3-2.

"It was a strange game, that's for sure," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. Kemp echoed the sentiment, "Games are weird when we play in this place," he said.

With the victory, the Dodgers would run their record against the Giants this year to 5-1 and they are 14-7, leading San Diego by 2 1/2 games. Tonight they will have their hands full facing Giants ace Tim Lincecum.

He will be opposed by blue-collar LHP Eric Stults (2-0, 3.52 ERA) who had a solid start in Coors Field his last time out despite five walks. Stults also pitched about as effectively as he did in his previous start, when he allowed two runs in five innings at home and was the winner over San Francisco with better run support.

RHP Tim Lincecum (1-1, 2.96 ERA) is in a hot stretch, fanning 25 over 16 innings in his last two starts, both against Arizona. During his Cy Young Award-winning 2008 season, Lincecum was 12-5 against the National League West.

  Score by Innings
Los Angeles	010 100 102-5
San Francisco	002 000 010-3

  Dodgers	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  0  0  0  .241
Hudson 2b	5  0  0  0  .326
Ramirez lf	3  2  3  0  .366
Martin c	4  0  0  0  .225
Either rf	4  3  2  1  .312
Kemp cf        	4  0  2  1  .316
Loney 1b	2  0  1  2  .324
Blake 3b	5  0  1  0  .242
Billingsley p	3  0  0  0  .111
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Loretta ph	1  0  0  0  .412
 Ohamn p	0  0  0  0 1.000
-----------------------------
  Totals        35 5 9 4
  San Francisco	32 3 8 3

  Error Furcal (4). 2B- Ramirez 3
(6), Ethier (6). 3B- Kemp (3).
RBI- Loney 2 (16), Ethier (21),
Kemp (15). S- Billingsley. LOB-
Dodgers 13, San Francisco 9. CS-
Kemp (1). DP- 3 Hudson, Furcal
and Loney; Loney and Blake;
Martin and Furcal.

  Dodgers 	 in  h r-er bb so  era
Billingsley 	7.1  8  3-2  3  8  2.14
Broxton (2-0)	2.0  0  0-0  2  1  0.90
Ohman (sv 1)	1.0  0  0-0  0  1  2.35
  WP- Billingsly. HBP- 2 by Billingsley. 
T- 3:31. Att- 30,482.
Mazone Making Comeback
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, reports that left-hander Brian Mazone was a front runner for the situational left-hander job during spring training but then developed an abscess on his right buttock that became infected. The treatment required a wound to be left open and it also prevented Mazone from pitching.

It's healed enough that he's back on a mound in extended Spring Training. He had 10 appearances, pitched eight innings and one earned run on three hits. The 32-year-old Mazone has spent 11 years in professional baseball, but not one official day in the Major Leagues.

Schmidt Not Ready Yet
RHP Jason Schmidt threw 89 pitches in an extended spring game before leaving after getting hit in the left leg with a line drive. The plan to have him make a rehab start at Inland Empire was scrapped several days ago, but no one bothered to tell the media. He threw 89 pitches. The official word now is that he will make at least one more extended-spring start before going on a rehab. Maybe.

Dodger Blue Notes
...Dodgers RHP Cory Wade did work a one-inning rehab at Single-A Inland Empire and is expected to join the team for Thursday's game against San Diego. He didn't allow a hit while walking two and striking out one. ...The announced attendance of 30,482 was the lowest attended Giants-Dodgers game in San Francisco since 23,081 showed up at Candlestick Park on Aug. 7, 1995. ...When Ramirez reached base all five plate appearances it improved his on-base percentage to .494. ...Torre acknowledged that the setup role doesn't necessarily belong to Hong-Chih Kuo anymore. The problem with Kuo is that his history of arm problems prevents Torre from using him as an eighth-inning setup man normally would be used. Torre is reluctant to use Kuo in consecutive games, and one of the reasons he didn't use him in Monday night's loss to the Giants was because of the cold weather. Wade and Ronald Belisario will probably share the set up when Wade returns. ...Russell Martin went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and is 10-for-54 (.185) on the road this year. ... Furcal's throwing error was his fourth of the season.

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