Now that he’s 1 for 1 as a pinch hitter this year, Hanley Ramirez wants his starting job back.
The All-Star shortstop came off the bench in the ninth inning Monday to bust out of a slump with a two-out single, and two subsequent fielding lapses by the Los Angeles Dodgers helped the Florida Marlins score twice to win 5-4.
An error by shortstop Jamey Carroll let in the tying run. Omar Infante then lined a bases-loaded single that left fielder Jerry Sands misjudged, and the ball fell for a game-ending single.
Ramirez, held out of the starting lineup because of a 2-for-27 slump, spent the first five innings in the batting cage, restless in the unfamiliar pinch-hitting role.
”No, I don’t like that,” he said. ”I don’t like sitting on the bench. I get kind of bored.”
There was plenty of excitement at the end, however, with Ramirez in the middle of a mob scene at home plate. Both runs in the ninth were unearned, giving the Marlins their ninth comeback win this year.
”Nine? Wow,” manager Edwin Rodriguez exclaimed. ”Back in spring training, we were talking about winning close games, and they’ve been taking that to the next level. It’s good to see.”
The Dodgers’ Andre Ethier had a first-inning single to tie a major league record by extending his hitting streak to 22 games, which matches the longest ever in April. Ethier equaled the mark set by his former manager, Joe Torre, who hit in 22 consecutive April games in 1972.
The game was the first for the Dodgers under former Texas Rangers president J. Thomas Schieffer, who was hired by Commissioner Bud Selig to run the team less than a week after Major League Baseball took over operation of the franchise from owner Frank McCourt.
With the Dodgers leading 4-3 in the ninth, closer Jonathan Broxton (1-1) was one strike from victory when Emilio Bonifacio walked on a 3-2 pitch. After Ramirez singled to put runners at first and third, Scott Cousins’ two-out grounder scooted under the glove of a charging Carroll for an error, and Bonifacio scored.
”I just whiffed it,” Carroll said. ”I went hard after it and just missed it. I don’t know if I looked up, but I know I didn’t follow it into the glove.”
Added Dodgers manager Don Mattingly: ”It’s probably going to be a tough play, but it is the one guy you really want the ball hit to.”
After Chris Coghlan was intentionally walked to load the bases, Infante pulled a 1-0 pitch to left. Sands started in, braked and leaped, and the liner sailed over his glove.
”I took a step and just tried to get there,” Sands said. ”It was hit pretty hard, I just tried to make a play on it and it got past me. It was probably a bad jump on my part.”
Because of the fielding lapses, Broxton blew a save for the first time in seven chances.
Brian Sanches (3-0) extended his scoreless streak to start the season to 13 2-3 innings with a perfect ninth.
The Marlins improved to 5-1 in one-run games. They’re 14-7 overall to match the best start in franchise history, achieved in 2004, and they’re 6-1 on their homestand.
They’re winning even though their star shortstop hasn’t been hitting. Ramirez declared his slump over after the single hiked his average to .194.
”It gives me a lot of confidence,” he said. ”I feel so much better right now. I’m where I want to be right now.”
Coghlan hit two solo homers for the only runs off Jon Garland, who went seven innings. Garland allowed four hits and one walk.
The Dodgers scored their first run in the fourth on Sands’ two-out RBI single. Sands, who came into the game with four hits this season and a .154 average, finished 3 for 4.
Teammate Matt Kemp went 1 for 4, dropping his average from a major league-leading .402 to .396.
Notes: Marlins LF Logan Morrison (left foot) had a cast removed and said he felt no pain. He hopes to be activated as soon as he’s eligible to come off the disabled list May 5. … Dodgers 3B Casey Blake (groin) was held out. INF Juan Uribe (thigh) missed his third game in a row but is expected back Tuesday. … The Marlins turned a double play in the second when Sands tried to steal second. Barajas struck out, and when he was called for interfering with the catcher’s throw, Sands was also out. … Stanton broke his bat in the sixth when he grounded to third baseman Miles, who deftly avoided the flying barrel to scoop up the ball and make the throw to first.