Hanley Ramirez enjoyed his return to south Florida, collecting three hits and two RBI in support of Clayton Kershaw, leading the Dodgers to a 5-2 win over the Marlins in the opener of their three-game weekend series at Marlins Park.
The Dodgers didn't get a hit off of Mark Buehrle until the fourth inning, and they didn't score against him in the first five innings. But doubles by Shane Victorino and Matt Kemp in the sixth inning tied the game at 1-1. Ramirez followed with a single to right field to drive in Kemp for the go-ahead run against his old mates.
Juan Rivera, who was hitting .217/.250/.348 in 22 games since the All-Star break entering Friday night, punctuated the sixth inning rally with a line drive two-run home run down the line in left field off Buehrle for a 4-1 lead.
Kershaw thought he had Justin Ruggiano struck out in the first inning, but his 1-2 pitch was deemed to be just outside. One pitch later, Ruggiano crushed a ball 430 feet just to the left of the home run monstrosity in left center field for a 1-0 lead. It was the second home run in as many days for Ruggiano, who has hit 10 home runs in 55 games since the beginning of June.
After the home run Kershaw found himself in quite a groove, as he retired 14 straight batters. But that streak ended in the sixth when the Marlins used a sharp single past Ramirez, an infield single, and a fielder's choice to load the bases with nobody out. Up 4-1 at the time, Kershaw got out of the jam in relatively strong shape, allowing only a sacrifice fly by Carlos Lee.
The Dodgers added another run in the seventh when Hanley Ramirez hit a 40-foot dribbler for an infield single with the bases loaded. The second RBI of the night for Ramirez widened the Dodgers' lead to 5-2.
Kershaw walked Austin Kearns to open the seventh, the first walk of the night for Kershaw. One out later, Nick Green reached base on a fielders choice, the second fielders choice in as many innings that saw the Dodgers record no outs. Kershaw was pulled at that point, at 114 pitches and having run the bases in the previous inning.
It took three relievers, and the Marlins even loaded the bases, but those final two outs of the seventh inning were recorded without a run scoring.
For Kershaw, that marked his third straight win, having given up a total of three runs in 22 1/3 innings in his last three starts. He struck out seven and walked one on Friday night in his 6 1/3 innings in recording his 10th win of the season.
Ronald Belisario got the third out of the seventh inning, then pitched a perfect eighth. Kenley Jansen allowed a double and a walk with two outs in the ninth, allowing the Marlins to bring the potential tying run to the plate, but he retired Scott Cousins to end the game, for his 23rd save of the season.
Joe Blanton makes his second start as a Dodger on Saturday night, while the Marlins send Ricky Nolasco to the mound in the middle game of the series.
- Kemp went 2-for-3 against Buehrle, improving his major league best batting average against left-handers to .478 (32-for-67) on the season.
- Jerry Hairston Jr. went 2-for-4 Friday, and his fifth-inning single snapped an 0-for-23 slump.
- Ramirez has at least one hit and at least one run scored in all six road games he has played as a Dodger.
- Ramirez is hitting .310/.390/.492 with nine doubles and seven home runs in 50 games this season at Marlins Park.
- Victorino has a four-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .389/.450/.444 (7-for-18)
- The Dodgers are 8-0 in the Eastern time zone this season.
Home Runs: Juan Rivera (6); Justin Ruggiano (10)
WP - Clayton Kershaw (10-6): 6 1/3 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
LP - Mark Buehrle (9-11): 6 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (23): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout