Tonight's 6-2 Dodger win provided one of the most memorable highlights of what is shaping up to be a magical season.
Manny Ramirez, with his injured hand, wasn't going to play tonight. He was originally in the starting lineup, but as Kevin Baxter of the LA Times reported, Manny asked out because his hand was still sore. The first 50,000 fans -- plus those in the press box -- would have to get their Manny fix only through his bobblehead doll, a giveaway at Dodger Stadium tonight.
In the bottom of the sixth, all of that changed. With one out and a 2-2 tie, Manny Ramirez was summoned from the dugout to pinch-hit with the bases loaded. In two previous pinch-hit plate appearances with the bases loaded in his career, Manny had a strikeout and a sacrifice fly, but he drilled Nick Masset's first pitch over the wall in left field -- MANNYWOOD of all places -- to close out the scoring for the evening.
The comment of the night goes to Nofatmike, who offered this gem before Manny's AB:
Perhaps he's pulling a Dave Anderson with Mark Loretta...
The "he" in this case is Joe Torre. Dave Anderson, you may recall, stood in the on-deck circle as a placeholder for Kirk Gibson nearly 21 years ago.
Ramirez now has 21 grand slams, second all-time to Lou Gehrig's 23 (Eddie Murray is 3rd with 19).
Manny pinch-hit for Chad Billingsley, who rebounded from last Friday's effort with six solid innings. Billingsley picked up his 10th win, giving up two runs on seven hits and a walk, striking out seven Reds.
Guillermo Mota threw two more scoreless innings, and has now thrown 17 straight scoreless frames.
Lost in the shuffle was an outstanding play by Russell Martin to end the fourth inning. With runners on first and third and two outs, Edwin Encarnacion struck out on a curveball that got away, but Martin hustled after the ball, slid to retreive it, then threw a seed to first base to end the inning, saving a run in what was at the time a tie game.
The Dodgers have now beaten the Reds 12 straight times at home, the most consecutive wins over one opponent they've ever had at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers, winners of five straight games, take Thursday off before the Marlins come into town Friday. Clayton Kershaw will face Josh Johnson in game one.
WP - Chad Billingsley (10-5): 6 IP, 7 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
LP - Bronson Arroyo (10-9): 5.1 IP, 5 hits, 5 runs, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts