Marlins 4, Dodgers 2

James Loney is hoping he finally is getting out of an early

slump.

Loney, who came into Tuesday’s game against the Marlins hitting

just .170, tied a career-high with four hits in the Dodgers 4-2

loss.

”You like to see him break out of it a little bit,” Dodgers

manager Don Mattingly said. ”Hopefully it’s something that gets

him going.”

Loney’s hits, all singles, were something the Dodgers have been

waiting for this season as he recorded just his third multi-hit

game of the season.

”I was trying to be so perfect,” Loney said. ”Yeah, you want

to be the best, never mess up kind of thing. You just have to be

yourself at the end of the day. That’s what I’ve been going back to

this year.”

Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Loney was not the only hitter in

Tuesday’s game that was looking to get back on track as Hanley

Ramirez, mired in a 3 for 28 slump, had two hits and scored two

runs for the Marlins as he recently adjusted his batting

stance.

”It’s better,” said Ramirez, who raised his average to .211.

”Still, I’m not feeling 100 percent at the plate. I have to keep

working to get 100 percent, get my timing right, and start to the

drive the ball- doubles, triples, and homers.”

With the win, the Marlins improved to 7-1 on a nine-game

homestand and 15-7 overall, tying the franchise record for best

22-game start.

”We have been doing it together all year, not me, them,”

Ramirez quipped. ”I think this is the first night, but it’s good,

I’m having fun.”

Mike Stanton drove in two runs, Gaby Sanchez homered, and Chris

Volstad pitched seven innings for the Marlins.

”It’s great,” Stanton said. ”You never know who is going to

take care of business that night. We don’t have to rely one

person’s shoulders. If someone is off that night, then someone else

is going to do it, and that’s what you need to be a great

team.”

There were a couple of bright spots for the Dodgers, who have

lost three of four, as Andre Ethier set a major league record for

the longest April hitting streak with an RBI double that gave him a

hit in 23 straight games and James Loney went 4 for 4.

”You look at us right now- we have three guys who started the

season as utility players,” Mattingly said. ”We have to try to

scratch and get our runs here and there. … I think we’re going to

be okay offensively.”

Volstad (2-1) allowed a baserunner in all but two innings, but

kept himself out of serious trouble. Volstad allowed two runs,

seven hits, and one walk. He struck out five.

”Putting the hitters on the defensive right away was the key

part,” Volstad said. ”Mostly just sinkers and sliders.”

The seven innings pitched was a season-high for Volstad, who

came into the game with a gaudy 6.60 ERA.

”Outstanding outing by Chris Volstad,” Marlins manager Edwin

Rodriguez said. ”Let’s see if he can keep it up.”

Leo Nunez got his seventh straight save.

Clayton Kershaw allowed four runs in 5 1-3 innings and struck

out five.

With the score tied at 2 in the sixth, Chris Coghlan and Ramirez

singled. Sanchez walked to load the bases before Stanton hit a

two-run single to right-center field off of Kershaw (2-3).

”Put the ball in play and anything can happen,” Stanton said,

”and obviously it showed.”

Sanchez’s third homer of the season tied the game in the

second.

After a sacrifice fly by Rod Barajas to give the Dodgers a 2-1

lead, Ramirez used his speed to his advantage. He took off from

first on a steal attempt. Sanchez swung at the pitch grounding to

third, but Ramirez did not slow down around second as he kept

running toward third while the throw went to first. A return throw

to third baseman Aaron Miles was mishandled allowing Ramirez to

score.

”I was trying to make something happen,” Ramirez said.

His aggressiveness was something that pleased Rodriguez.

”That’s the way he plays,” Rodriguez said. ”That’s the way I

want him to play and that’s the way I want the whole team to

play.”

Randy Choate and Clay Hensley combined to pitch a scoreless

eighth.

Notes: Joe Torre, Ethier’s former manager, hit in 22 straight

April games in 1972. … Kershaw made an impressive diving stop to

his left on a bunt attempt by Emilio Bonifacio in the fifth, then

threw from his knees to get the out at first. … Rodriguez credits

Nunez’s early success to an improved slider and having John Buck

behind the plate. … Marlins hitting coach John Mallee has been

advising Ramirez to reduce his leg kick since spring training, but

it took a sub-.200 batting average to get Ramirez to make an

adjustment. ”This game will humble you in a hurry,” Rodriguez

said. Ramirez responded with his first multi-hit game since April

14.