The Dodgers welcomed Manny Ramirez back into the lineup tonight by slamming four home runs, from four of the first five hitters in the lineup (the ones not named Ramirez), powering the Dodgers to a 8-5 win in the second game of the series with the Reds.
The Dodgers rallied off Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto, making his first start in 11 days, in the first inning thanks to three straight walks, culminating in a bases-loaded free pass to Casey Blake. Then, just as Cueto found the strike zone in the next two innings the Dodgers made him pay.
In the second inning, Ryan Theriot, the man Joe Torre said had a little "thump" in his bat, lined a home run
into Mannywood just over the left field short wall with two outs, and was followed by an Andre Ethier bomb to center field. One inning later, Jay Gibbons and Matt Kemp began the frame with home runs to build a 5-0 lead. Here are some interesting home run facts from tonight:
- The Dodgers had hit four home runs in their previous 13 games combined, a span of 485 plate appearances, and hit four tonight within the first 14 batters of the game
- Tonight was the second time this season the Dodgers have hit four home runs in a game, joining the home opener on April 13 against Arizona
- The two sets of back-to-back home runs were the second and third time the Dodgers accomplished that feat this season. The other back-to-back homers were hit by Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp in the first inning against the Giants on April 16
- The last time the Dodgers had two different sets of back-to-back homers was in Colorado on June 29, 1996. I suppose the four straight home runs in the "4+1 Game" in 2006 count as one set.
Manny came out of the game after the fifth inning in favor of Reed Johnson. Joe Torre said he removed Manny because of the six-run lead at the time, and that Manny will not play tomorrow.
Chad Billingsley experienced tightness in his right calf when covering first base in the second inning. That's why he didn't run hard to first base on a would-be ground ball single up the middle in the fourth inning, a play that brought a cascade of boos from the crowd of 49,435. Billingsley downplayed the malady, saying, "I survived. I just kind of tweaked it." Billingsley said he is walking fine, but felt discomfort with sprinting or quick movements. He doesn't expect the injury to affect his next start.
Jonathan Broxton tonight returned to the closer role eight days after having his title and role stripped from him. He retired the Reds in order, earning his first save since August 3. Torre said the outing was a confidence builder for Broxton, but that he will still manage the back end of his bullpen by situation, using some combo of Octavio Dotel, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Broxton. Kuo, Torre said, was brought in during the seventh inning tonight (Kuo also pitched the eighth inning) specifically to face the left-handed Votto.
Vin Scully Announcement To Come Sunday
T.J. Simers of the LA Times talked to legendary announcer Vin Scully before tonight's game, and Scully said he has made his future plans:
"I know what I am going to do and I would imagine the Dodgers will arrange things so an announcement can be made before [Sunday's] game,'' said Scully, who will be 83 before the start of next season. "I'd like to do that so everyone hears it at the same time. It's the proper way to do it.''
This is the news we all know is coming, but are afraid to fully grasp. Whatever Vin decides, I wish him all the best.
- Seven of the eight position players who started for the Dodgers drove in at least one run tonight. The only one that didn't was Manny.
- Ethier had three hits, and the Dodgers got two hits apiece from Gibbons, Blake, and Jamey Carroll
Clayton Kershaw and Bronson Arroyo face off in the rubber game tomorrow, but the big news will come before the game.
WP - Chad Billingsley (10-7): 5 2/3 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
LP - Johnny Cueto (11-4): 3 IP, 5 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts
Sv - Jonathan Broxton (22): 1 IP, 1 strikeout