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Morning Juice: Ethier takes Manny's moment with winning homer

Big League Stew

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This and every weekday a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts at Dodger Stadium, where Manny Ramirez(notes) is up next (!!!).

Game of the Day

Dodgers 5, Braves 4

Better luck next time: With the home team trailing by two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the grandstand percolated with anticipation. The first two Dodgers batters reached base to start a rally against Braves closer Rafael Soriano(notes). Victory was just one swing away.

As Andre Ethier(notes) strolled to the plate with a chance to cap an improbable comeback, the eyes of those remaining in the crowd focused on the on-deck circle, where MannyWood was patiently waiting for his chance to rescue the Dodgers.

"The crowd is particularly wound up," Dodgers TV announcer Vin Scully noted, "because now — unless Ethier either hits it out, or hits into a triple play — they're going to see Manny."

Considering that Soriano had only allowed two homers so far and the triple play happens about as often as Bruce Chen(notes) wins a ballgame, fans were certain to get what they wanted. If Ethier could draw a walk — or, better, get hit by the first pitch to load the bases — Manny could come up and knock out another game-winning grand slam. Bobblehead!

Just hurry up, Andre, and finish your at-bat and get out of the way so we can watch ManRam win the ballgame!

FAIL.

Totally spoiling the mood, "Andre the Jerk" lined a three-run, game-ending home run to send Chavez Ravine into premature jubilation.

Watch Ethier's deception and check out his reaction below.

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Despite being on a team which pays Manny $25 million to do such things, Ethier has bothered to accumulate a league-leading five game-ending hits, including three homers.

He's a chronic spotlight hogger and won't apologize for it.

"You don't believe it at first," Ethier told the L.A. Times. "You see the ball go out and do a double-take, like, 'Did that just happen?' "

Yes, Andre, it did. Thanks. A. Ton. Now what do we tell our kids?

The bottom of the ninth started in a foreboding way for the Braves, who had controlled the game behind former Dodgers right-hander/fancier of local TV reporters Derek Lowe. Unless you count downing a Dodger Dog, the only Blue Moment worth celebrating before the ninth was Orlando Hudson's 1,000th career hit.

But Juan Pierre(notes) dribbled an infield single and Rafael Furcal(notes) found a hole on a hit-and-run. Thankfully for Atlanta, the game ended before Soriano could allow Manny to win it.

"Sometimes you have a tendency to over-attack, but when you're ahead 2-0 [in the count] and Manny's on deck, they have to bring it to you," he said.

Yeah, great. Whatevs, 'Dre.

* * *

Feelin Rundown (Any more games you want to ruin, Ethier?):

Yankees 13, Red Sox 6: Finally, one in the win column against Red Scaries. Even the pro-Smoltz movement (which is made up of myself and John Smoltz(notes)) went "Whoa" after this one. He looked OK until the fourth but, jeez, a guy steps out for a sandwich and comes back to find Yankees circling the bases like Crazy Horse goin' 'round Custer.

Yahoo! Sports' own Gordon Edes says the retirement party appears to be in full swing for the old man Yankees announcer Paul O'Neill called "Schmoltz."

Joba Chamberlain(notes) was not much better, just much younger.

Dustin Pedroia(notes) had a great first three innings, hitting a homer and throwing out a runner at the plate (nice slide, Posada) but then had one thrown near his head by Mark Melancon(notes) (sounds like a winger for the Nordiques) and then was plunked in the arm. Ire was drawn. A swear word was uttered.

This could develop into something. The series needs it, too.

It's not too late to move back into the House That Ruth Built, is it? The Yankees dropped about 50 percent of their charm by abandoning the old ballpark. The new stadium lacks in many important ways and its absences detract from what everybody tells us (and tells us) is the greatest rivalry in pro sports. The Yankees at home are just another team from New York now. Not unlike the Nets.

Royals 8, Mariners 2: The year is 2005. YouTube hits the Internets for the first time and Bruce Chen wins a game for the last time — until last night! Congratulations to the Panamasian Sensation.

* * *

Sentencing (wrap it up, one sentence at a time):

Phillies 3, Rockies 1: Citizens Bank Park takes Cliff Lee(notes) for a test drive and determines he's not a clunker.

Nationals 12, Marlins 8: How did the Nats stand going so long without Elijah Dukes(notes)?

Indians 2, Twins 1: Two out of three ain't good, when they're losses, against the T-Ribe.

Tigers 7, Orioles 3: Well, I'll be a sonova assistant general manager, Alex Avila(notes).

Angels 9, White Sox 5: They've been winning without Vladimir Guerrero(notes), but having him healthy makes the Halos fearsome.

Padres 8, Mets 3: Clayton Richard(notes) is the New Jake Peavy(notes).

Rangers 6, Athletics 4: Try this nickname I just thought of: Tommy "Catfish" Hunter.

* * *

One and Done (one word to unite them, one word to describe them):

D-backs 11, Pirates 6 (12 inn.): Oeltjen?

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