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Hanley Ramirez Ends Back & Forth Battle As Dodgers Sweep Cubs

Hanley Ramirez got his first walk-off hit as a Dodger on Sunday.
Hanley Ramirez got his first walk-off hit as a Dodger on Sunday.

Hanley Ramirez hit a walk-off single off Shawn Camp to end a crazy, back-and-forth game at Dodger Stadium, giving the Dodgers a 7-6 win over the Chicago Cubs to complete a three-game sweep. The Dodgers remained a half-game back of San Francisco in the National League West.

Anthony Rizzo hit a towering home run into the visitors bullpen in right field to lead off the ninth inning to tie the score at 6-6. It was the sixth blown save of the season for Kenley Jansen, who has allowed five home runs all season.

Joe Blanton entered Sunday with a major league best walk rate of just 3.21% of his batters faced and just 1.21 walks per nine innings. So it was only fitting that he walked David DeJesus, the first batter he faced as a Dodger. DeJesus advanced to second, and scored on a single by Rizzo for a 1-0 Chicago lead.

Blanton walked three batters in all, matching his May 8 outing for the most walks he has had in any one start this season. It was just the fourth time all season that Blanton issued more than one unintentional walk in a game.

The three walks issued by Blanton equaled the total of his last four starts combined, in which he faced a total of 117 batters.

The Dodgers tied the game in the fifth when James Loney singled, then scored from second base on a double by A.J. Ellis, who to my knowledge did not trend on Twitter on Sunday.

But the Cubs answered right back in the sixth inning, when Welington Castillo hit one into the right field pavilion for a home run and a 2-1 lead. It was the 23rd home run of the season allowed by Blanton, tops in the National League.

But it was also just a solo shot, as 12 of his last 13 home runs allowed have been and 18 of his 23 on the season. Blanton allowed just two runs in his six innings and struck out five, but despite leaving with a lead he suffered a no-decision, the third no-decision in four starts by a Dodgers number 56 this season.

The Dodgers tied the score without a hit in the sixth inning, as a hit by pitch and three walks tied the score at 2-2. Left-handed reliever Scott Maine, who issued the game-tying free pass to Juan Rivera, became the latest chapter in the story of Luis Cruz, who hit a two-run single to left field to give the Dodgers their first lead of the day at 4-2.

Cruz has now driven in 18 runs in 27 games as a Dodger.

But the Cubs answered right back with three runs of their own in the seventh. Rizzo drove in his second run of the day with a sacrifice fly, then Alfonso Soriano doubled off the base of the left field wall against new pitcher Javy Guerra to put Chicago ahead 5-4.

In their respective innings, Maine and Guerra each had no runs charged to their ledger but they combined to allow all five of their inherited runners to score.

Andre Ethier hit a two-run double in the seventh inning to give the Dodgers the lead at 6-5. Ethier was just 3-for-22 (.136) on the homestand before his double, which was even more rare since it was hit off of southpaw James Russell. Ethier entered Sunday hitting .219/.289/.328 against lefties, including just 7-for-65 (.108) since June 1.

But that was before Ethier lined one off the right field wall off Russell, for his first two runs batted in since July 22, snapping a string of 57 RBI-less plate appearances.

The back-and-forth game looked to take another turn in the eighth inning, when the Cubs put the first two runners on base thanks in part to a bad throw by Ronald Belisario, but he recovered to get out of the inning with no damage by striking out two of the next three hitters he faced.

Today's Particulars

Home Runs: Welington Castillo (3), Anthony Rizzo (9)

WP - Kenley Jansen (5-3): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 strikeout

LP - Shawn Camp (3-4): 1 1/3 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout