Jason Schmidt Wins First Start Since 2007

Jason Schmidt won his first game for the Dodgers on April 4, 2007 and then took two years to rehab his pitching shoulder, about the same amount of time it took to play the first inning, but he came away with his first victory as the Dodgers outlasted Cincinnati 7-5. Andre Ethier and Manny Ramirez whacked home runs and the 2,000,000th fan showed up at Dodger Stadium.

Schmidt's win wasn't exactly a thing of beauty, he allowed five hits and three runs over five innings, but if he can nail down the fifth starters slot, a vacancy that has been waiting to be filled since spring training, his addition could be an important one.

Cincinnati tapped him for all three runs in the first inning, giving up a triple, double and single to the first three Reds. Although he walked three, Schmidt only allowed a pair of singles over the next four innings.

Los Angeles bounced back to score four times in the first and two in the second, then both clubs settled in to allow only three more runs in the game, two of them unearned. The first inning alone lasted 42 minutes.

James McDonald pitched a pair of scoreless innings, then an error by Juan Castro, filling in for the injured Orlando Hudson, before walking the first batter in the eighth and allowing a single. After Castro's error allowed a run, Ramon Troncoso ( who ran his string to 17 consecutive scoreless innings) induced a run-scoring double play but finished the inning without further damage.

Jonathan Broxton, his sore toe apparently on the mend, blew Cincinnati away in the ninth to record his 23rd save.

Furcal opened the game with one of his patented push-bunt doubles, Russ Martin singled him to third and with one out, Ethier doubled to right field scoring both of them.

Casey Blake doubled home Ethier and James Loney singled to right, scoring Blake and making it 4-3.

Ramirez drove a ball deep into the left field seats in the second, giving the Dodgers a 6-3 lead, It was his 10th of the season and 537th of his career, passing Yankee icon Mickey Mantle in the process. It was his fourth home run in the 14 games he has played since returning from a drug suspension.

Next on Ramirez's target list is Mike Schmidt and his 548 home runs.

Los Angeles would score only once more, on Ethier's 19th dinger in the fifth inning.

Owner Frank McCourt enthused over Manny's historic home run. "It's awesome sitting there watching that," he said. "It's a huge accomplishment for any ballplayer. It's a real milestone. The man can hit a baseball, there's no question about it. He brings a lot of energy and fun to the game."

Ramirez said he's not keeping score.

"To be honest, I haven't been keeping track of who I've passed or where I'm at. I just wait for you guys to tell me," Ramirez said. "I just play and don't worry about the numbers. Maybe I will when I look back later on and see what I accomplished. But now I'm going to take it day by day and see if we can go to the next step."

Ramirez, who tied Mantle on July 10, passed Mick in the second inning and the Dodger Stadium crowd of 48,110, pushing them past the two-million mark, chanted his name, hoping, unsuccessfully, for a curtain call.

However, McCourt and the wild fans in Mannywood not withstanding, the night belonged to the nearly-forgotten man, Jason Schmidt. Making just his seventh start for the Dodgers since signing a three-year, $47 million contract in December 2006, Schmidt used 91 pitches to finally contribute to the Dodgers' season.

"I signed here so I could be on a winning team and have a chance to go to the playoffs and get a World Series ring," Schmidt said. "I was disappointed not to have an opportunity over the last few years to contribute, but hopefully I can help out a little bit.

"It was an emotional day for me and it's been a struggle. I didn't want it to take this long, but unfortunately, it did. Before the game, driving here and getting all the phone calls and text messages from everybody, there was a lot of buildup. It was fun, and I'm glad we came out on the winning end of it."

Schmidt, who was just activated from the 60-day disabled list before his start, won his first start for Los Angeles on April 4, 2007 but after three more starts he was placed on the disabled list just two weeks later.

He returned June 5, allowed San Diego one hit and no runs over six innings in a no-decision but on his last start, on June 16, 2007, he gave up three runs and five hits over 4.2 innings in a 3-0 loss to the Angels. Placed on the disabled list again and had season-ending surgery on his shoulder on June 20.

Schmidt missed the 2008 season underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery on Sept. 10, 2008. The three-time All-Star was 3-1 with a 3.65 ERA in seven minor league rehab starts and one relief appearance, striking out 37 over 44.1 innings.

Manager Joe Torre said before the game, that Schmidt figures to remain in the rotation at least for another start.

The Dodgers got three hits from Martin, and two hits and two RBI from Ramirez, Ethier and Blake.

All-Star second baseman Orlando Hudson was out of Monday night's Dodgers lineup, but manager Joe Torre said X-rays were negative on Hudson's repaired left wrist and he should return to action tonight.

Left-handed reliever Scott Elbert was returned to Albuquerque to make room on the 25-man roster for Schmidt. To make room on the 40-man roster, reliever Eric Milton was moved to the 60-day disabled list.

Left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo, pitching for Inland Empire, worked a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. Torre Kuo might be used in back-to-back appearances or allowed to work to two innings, but he likely will do one or the other this week before being activated around the end of the month.

Ronald Belisario has begun throwing off a mound but there is no schedule set for his return.

In the second game of the series, Randy Wolf (4-4, 3.51 ERA) will make his second start since the All-Star break. Wolf held the Astros at bay in his previous start that lasted six innings, and allowed one run on two hits. Wolf is 8-2 with a 3.15 ERA in 15 starts against the Reds.

RHP Homer Bailey (1-1, 6.43 ERA) draws the Cincinnati start. He was banged around by Milwaukee in his last start, allowing Milwaukee seven earned runs in 5.1 innings. Bailey has never faced the Dodgers in his career.

 Score by innings
Cincinnati	300 000 020-5
Los Angeles	420 010 00x-7

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	5  1  1  0  .260
Martin c	3  2  3  0  .264
Ramirez lf	4  1  2  2  .338
Ethier rf	4  2  2  2  .257
Blake 3b	4  1  2  2  .282
Loney 1b	2  0  1  1  .277
Kemp cf	        3  0  1  0  .322
Castro 2b	4  0  0  0  .329
Schmidt p	2  0  0  0  .000
 McDonald p	1  0  0  0  .000
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Loretta ph	1  0  0  0  .239
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
----------------------------------
 Totals	        33 7 12 7
 Cincinnati	32 5  6 2

 Error- Martin (3), Castro (2). Two-base 
hits- Furcal (17), Ethier (18), Blake (19). 
HR- Ramirez (10),  Ethier (19). RBI- Ethier 
2 (58), Blake 2 (47), Loney (55), Ramirez 2 
(31). LOB- Los Angeles 6, Cincinnati 5. 
CS- Martin 2 (6), Blake (3). DP- Furcal,
Castro and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h r-er bb so  era
Schmidt (1-0)	5.0  5  3-3  3  2  5.40
McDonald	2.0  1  2-0  1  1  4.99
Troncoso	1.0  0  0-0  0  1  1.67
Broxton (sv 23)	1.0  0  0-0  0  1  2.89
 HBP- Kemp. T- 3:06. Att- 48,110.
Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers are now have the best record in baseball at 59-34 and are a season-high 25 games over .500. ...Ethier leads the Dodgers in home runs (19) and RBIs (58). ...Closer Jonathan Broxton is 12-for-12 in save opportunities at Dodger Stadium. ...Cincinnati rookie catcher Ryan Hanigan C threw out Martin twice as well as Blake trying to steal, and is 14-for-30 this season. ...Cincinnati hasn't won at Dodger Stadium since July 28, 2005 and has lost 10 straight. ...Schmidt needs 16 1-3 innings to reach 2,000. ...The Dodgers moved back into a tie with San Francisco for the best home record in the National League at 31-15.  

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