Dodgers Fail to Follow the Script

Just a minute, Cut! Cut! We have to stay with the script. The way it goes, the Dodgers lose when Manny doesn't homer and wins when he does and you have it all backward. We have to shoot it all again. Places everyone, scene I and II, take two. Action ...

Just like everyone was hoping, Manny Ramirez gave the sagging Dodgers' batting attack a jump start when he slugged his seventh home run of the season, the first since his suspension and the 534th of his career, tying Jimmy Foxx for 16th on the all-time list. The next on the list is Mickey Mantle with 536.

But somehow things went terribly wrong.

His long shot only put one run on the scoreboard and didn't push another run over until the seventh. San Diego overwhelmed that slight, 2-1 lead by scoring three times in each the seventh and three unearned runs in the eighth to win 7-4.

With two outs in the first, Padres starter Josh Geer was 1-2 on Ramirez but left a change up in the zone that Manny deposited some in the left field seats some 369 feet from the plate for a 1-0 lead.

Manny also hit a pair of ground balls that led to close plays. He felt he had beaten the throw on a grounder to short in the fourth and argued briefly. And with two out in the sixth, he hit another in the same place that turned into a force at second.

Randy Wolf had his usual luck, allowing four hits and a single run over six innings but left with the game tied 1-1 and his 12th no-decision in 18 starts, seven of which he held and lead and could have won.

Los Angeles gave him a brief, 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh when Casey Blake and James Loney to single and Blake scored on a wild pitch.

Ron Belisario (1-3) took over in the bottom of the seventh and the Padres. He issued a walk, allowed a single and then hit a batter to load the bases. A pair of singles put San Diego up 4-1 and Ramon Troncoso had to bail him out of the inning with a strikeout and a force play at second.

Belisario, who came out of the Venezuelan Winter League and who had never pitched above AA in his 10 years as a professional, saw his 1.89 ERA balloon to 2.40 after his rare, sub-par performance.

Without a ball being hit out of the infield, the Dodgers scored in the eighth when Rafael Furcal walked, Russell Martin beat out an infield single before Andre Ethier's ground ball drove in Furcal.

Juan Castro, playing in place of slumping Orlando Hudson, booted a potential double play ball with a runner on first and one out in the eighth that led to three more runs and that put the game out of reach after Blake added an error of his own.

Matt Kemp drove in Loney, who had walked, with the final Dodgers hit in the ninth and the Padres, who came into the game with a 34-45 record, topped the team who had won 51 of their first 80 games.

Martin and Blake each had a pair of hits but the Dodgers, who had eight singles to go with Ramirez's homer, were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The Dodgers have lost six of their past nine games and hold a six-game lead over the relentless Giants who handed Houston a second shut-out loss.

In the final game of the series, Los Angels will send RHP Chad Billingsley (9-4, 3.12 ERA) to the mound still searching for his 10th win. Billingsley is 8-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 16 career appearances against the Padres.

The Padres have RHP Josh Banks (1-0, 3.38 ERA) ready. He?made his first start of the season against Houston and allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings against Houston.

  Score by Innings
Los Angeles	100 000 111-4
San Diego	001 000 33x-7

  Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  1  1  0  .250
Martin c	4  0  2  0  .254
Ramirez lf	3  1  1  1  .337
 Pierre lf	0  0  0  0  .321
Ethier rf	4  0  0  1  .253
Blake 3b	4  1  2  0  .287
Loney 1b	3  1  1  0  .279
Kemp cf	        3  0  1  1  .303
Castro 2b	4  0  1  0  .328
Wolf p	        2  0  0  0  .094
 Loretta ph	1  0  0  0  .245
 Belisario p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Leach p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Hudson ph	1  0  0  0  .288
  Totals	33  4  9  3
  San Diego	34  7 10  6  

  Error- Wolf (1), Blake (6).
HR- Ramirez (7).RBI- Ramirez (21),
Ethier (53), Kemp (44). S- Pierre.
LOB- Los Angeles 6, San Diego 8.

  Los Angeles	 in  h r-er bb so  era
Wolf	        6.0  4  1-1  0  8  3.49
Belisario (1-3)	0.1  3  3-3  1  0  2.44
Troncoso 	1.1  3  3-3  0  0  2.95
Leach	        0.1  0  0-0  0  0  3.12
   HBP- by Wolf, By Belisario. 
T- 3:11. Att- 42,069.   
Speed Kills (the opposition)
Jonathan Broxton was unimpressed with the San Diego speed gun that recorded a 103 mph pitch in the first game of the series. "That gun is juiced," Broxton said. "It's just a number."

However, he made 10 pitches, all fastballs, and according to the pitch tracker, eight registered at least 100 mph, one was 103 mph and three others were 102 mph. The tracker uses three cameras to calculate the time it takes a pitch to travel to the plate.

The Padres use a Juggs radar gun, said it is calibrated regularly and they have no reason to believe Friday night's readings were in error. Broxton's 103-mph reading is a PETCO Park record.

Whatever the speed, he is striking out hitters at a stunning rate 14.9 per nine innings. In 38.2 innings, he has punched out 64, leads the National League in lowest opposing batting average for a reliever (.121) and has allowed a hit to only one of the 32 first batters he's faced.

"I'm a little older," the 25-year-old told Ken Gunick of "I'm having a decent year, throwing the ball over the plate, challenging hitters. I worked on my footwork during the offseason, doing a lot of sprint drills to make my feet quicker so I could use a slide-step and be faster to the plate with runners on base, without losing five miles an hour off my velocity. And playing in the World Baseball Classic helped, too, because it prepared me for the competition in a playoff atmosphere."

Dodger Blue Notes-- After allowing three earned runs in one-third of an inning Saturday, Ronald Belisario's ERA went from 1.98 to 2.44. ...Casey Blake had two hits and was 1-for-18 coming into the game. Orlando Hudson, mired in an 0-for-20 slump, was given a rest by manager Joe Torre on Sand might not play today. Since May 27, when Hudson was hitting .347, he has batted .197....Hong-Chih Kuo made his second effective rehab appearance of the week for the Arizona League Dodgers on Friday night.

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