Dodgers start slow, but get past Marlins

BY foxsports • May 16, 2009

The Los Angeles Dodgers' reunion with Manny Ramirez lasted about 10 minutes. Then they went to the ballpark and won another game without him.

Juan Pierre, Ramirez's replacement in left field, hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the seventh inning, and the Dodgers rallied from a three-run deficit to beat the slumping Florida Marlins 6-4 on Friday night.

Los Angeles' third consecutive victory came hours after Ramirez apologized to his teammates at the team hotel. It was his first time with the Dodgers since being suspended for 50 games for using a banned substance.

"He's a happy-go-lucky guy, so we weren't expecting a big speech," Pierre said. "But just seeing him felt good. It was good for the team."

The Dodgers upped the best record in the majors to 25-12, and improved to 4-4 without Ramirez.

"We're not as powerful without him," manager Joe Torre said. "But we still have a pretty good lineup."

The Marlins lost their fifth straight game and are 6-18 since starting the season 11-1.

"It's just a run of bad luck," said Dan Uggla, whose average fell to .182 when he went 0 for 4. "You have to keep working."

With the score 3-all, James Loney led off the Dodgers' seventh with a single. Kiko Calero came on and walked Matt Kemp and pinch-hitter Mark Loretta to load the bases, and Pierre singled.

Pierre also scored a run and went 2 for 4 to hike his average to .391.

"I just do what I know I can do and keep it in my elements," Pierre said. "Right now I'm finding some holes. It feels good to contribute and help the team win."

Casey Blake and pinch-hitter Xavier Paul hit back-to-back homers for Los Angeles in the sixth.

"We know how tough it is going to be without Manny," Paul said. "And we're up for the challenge."

Cody Ross homered for Florida, and Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI double.

Jonathan Broxton walked two in the ninth but retired pinch-hitter Russ Gload on a flyout with runners at second and third for his ninth save in 11 chances.

Jeff Weaver (2-0) pitched a scoreless sixth for the Dodgers, and Marlins starter Chris Volstad (2-3) lost his third start in a row. Volstad took a one-hitter into the sixth but retired only three more batters and gave up four runs, two on homers.

With the Marlins trailing 5-4, an umpire reversal went against them in the eighth, prompting two ejections. With a runner on first and none out, Uggla squared to bunt and was hit on the right hand by a pitch from Cory Wade. Plate umpire Joe West awarded Uggla first base, but first base umpire Ed Rapuano said Uggla was swinging and sent him back to the plate.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez argued and was ejected. Uggla then struck out, shouted at Rapuano and was ejected.

"We felt he didn't offer at the pitch," Gonzalez said.

"I was surprised they told me to go back to the plate," Uggla said, "but it's a judgment call."

Jeremy Hermida followed with a single, and John Baker walked to load the bases before Alfredo Amezaga flied out to end the inning.

The Dodgers had only one baserunner in the first five innings, but they reached Volstad for five consecutive hits in the sixth and scored three times to tie it. Blake hit his eighth home run to lead off, and four pitches later Paul hit his first career homer.

"It felt good," Paul said. "I don't even remember touching the bases."

Notes: Marlins OF Brett Carroll was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans after the game. LHP Andrew Miller will be activated from the disabled list to start Saturday's game. ... Dodgers opening-day starter Hiroki Kuroda (oblique strain) threw 36 pitches in a bullpen session and may throw a simulated game Monday. ... Marlins RHP Josh Johnson, who complained of weakness in his pitching shoulder in Thursday's start at Milwaukee, said he felt better Friday and remains on schedule to make his next start. ... Marlins RHP Anibal Sanchez is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a sprained shoulder. He reported no pain after playing catch Friday and may throw from the mound during the homestand.

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