The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday (and now on Saturdays) for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.
Hanley delivers: The recent acquisition of Hanley Ramirez paid big dividends for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. With their critical division battle against the San Francisco Giants tied at 3 in the 10th, Ramirez muscled up and drove a Sergio Romo offering over the left-field wall for a go-ahead two-run homer. It was his only hit in five trips but obviously could not have come at a more important time for Los Angeles.
''It's why I'm here,'' Ramirez said. ''Manny Mota spoke to me and told me, 'Don't try to do too much. Just do what you know how to do.' Every day he comes and talks to me. I have a lot to learn from him.''
The Giants would mount a moderate threat against closer Kenley Jansen in the bottom half thanks to back-to-back singles from All-Stars Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey to open the frame. But Jansen was able to collect himself quickly and retired the next three in order to preserve the important 5-3 win. That pulls Los Angeles within two games of the Giants in the NL West with two games left in their weekend series.
Wind blowing in?: It sure didn't look like it early on at Wrigley Field, leaving one to wonder just how much worse it could have been for Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Travis Wood had the wind actually been blowing out in their 9-6 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. But believe me, it was bad enough as is. In fact, Elias tells us it was historically bad, because Wood became the first pitcher to ever allow a home run in each of the first five innings of a start.
[ Jeff Passan: Angels serve notice by getting Zack Greinke]
It started with Matt Holliday's solo shot in the first. Yadier Molina, Lance Berkman and Matt Carpenter went deep in innings two through four. And then Allen Craig finished the barrage with a solo blast in the fifth. This made the Cardinals the first team to hit a home run in the first five innings since the Houston Astros did it back 0n Oct. 2, 2004 in Colorado.
And we reemphasize, the wind was blowing in at Wrigley Field.Read More »from The Juice: Hanley’s late blast lifts Dodgers over Giants, Cardinals homer in five straight innings