Dodgers celebrate the return of Manny Ramirez with four home runs in 8-5 victory
Manny Ramirez returned Saturday. Home runs immediately rocketed out of Dodger Stadium. Dodgers’ home runs. Four of them all together.
Ramirez hit none of them, though it could be argued his mere presence in the lineup helped his cohorts get remarkably better pitches to hit.
Of course, it could also be argued the hitters were helped by it being right-hander Johnny Cueto’s first start in 11 days after his suspension for that little kicking participation in the Reds-Cardinals brouhaha.
Regardless, the home runs by Ryan Theriot, Andre Ethier, Jay Gibbons and Matt Kemp -- all solo shots -- spurred the Dodgers on to an 8-5 victory to snap the Reds’ seven-game winning streak.
Ramirez was activated off the disabled list prior to the game and immediately inserted into left and into the third in the batting order.
He received modest applause when introduced and then trotted out to left field with his now-familiar dreadlocks, though they did appear a tad longer than when last seen.
Fighting a series of leg injuries, Ramirez has missed half the season and appeared in one full game since June 29. He had been on the disabled list since straining his calf on July 16.
Personally, the night was uneventful for Ramirez. He went 0 for 3 with a pair of strikeouts. He left the game after the fifth, the Dodgers then seeming comfortably ahead, 7-1.
Cueto (11-4) got off to rough start before the home-run barrage even began. In the first inning, Ethier singled and Cueto then walked three consecutive batters to force in a run.
The Dodgers added back-to-back home runs by Theriot and Ethier in the second, and back-to-back homers by Gibbons and Kemp in the third.
It was only the second time this season the Dodgers have hit four home runs in one game. And the other was the home opener on April 13. They’d hit only four in their previous 13 games.
Chad Billingsley (10-7) was cruising early, allowing only one hit through three innings. The Reds got to him for one run in the fourth and then chased him with a pair of runs in the sixth.
Billingsley allowed three runs on seven hits, with one walk and seven strikeouts in his 5 2/3 innings.
Casey Blake doubled in a run in the fifth and scored on a Jamey Carroll single, runs that proved useful when the Reds scored twice in the sixth and seventh innings.
Reversing his recent trend, Manager Joe Torre used Hong-Chin Kuo in the seventh inning and brought back Jonathan Broxton in the ninth to earn his 22nd save, but his first since Aug. 3.
-- Steve Dilbeck