As their All-Star slugger began a minor league assignment across the country before a packed house, the Los Angeles Dodgers quietly added another win to their major league-best record.
Without the suspended Manny Ramirez(notes) until at least July 3, the NL West-leading Dodgers look for their fourth straight win Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field as they continue their three-game set against a Chicago White Sox club that’s struggling at home.
Los Angeles (47-24) opened the series with a 5-2 win Tuesday while Ramirez was in Albuquerque, N.M., where he went 0 for 2 for the Dodgers’ Triple-A squad in his first action since being suspended 50 games May 7 for violating MLB’s drug policy.
The Dodgers, though, have the best record in the majors (26-16) since Ramirez’s suspension.
Loney homered for the third time in four games Tuesday with a two-run shot in the second inning, and Casey Blake(notes) knocked in a pair as the Dodgers moved 23 games over .500 for the first time since ending 2004 with a 93-69 mark.
Back at U.S. Cellular Field following a 5-3 trip, the White Sox (33-37) had four hits as they fell for the ninth time in their last 12 at home.
“My job is to try to keep us in the game,” Tuesday’s starter John Danks(notes) said. “But our guys know how to hit - and hit a lot. They are proven. It’s only a matter of time before our guys get going.”
Chicago is batting .280 with 4.9 runs per game on the road compared to .217 and 3.4 at home. The White Sox have the fewest runs at home (119) in the AL.
Chicago gives the ball to Gavin Floyd(notes) (4-5, 4.65 ERA), who is 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA in his last six starts. The right-hander was denied victories in his last two outings as the bullpen failed to hold the lead.
Bobby Jenks(notes) gave up a game-tying homer in the ninth to Detroit on June 11 after Floyd yielded one run in eight innings. In Thursday’s 6-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs, Floyd allowed one run in seven innings before the White Sox bullpen gave up five in the final two.
Floyd is 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA in two interleague starts this season, but he is 0-3 with a 10.50 ERA lifetime against the Dodgers.
Randy Wolf(notes) takes the mound for Los Angeles, which is 14-5 on the road since May 13. In Thursday’s 3-2 win over Oakland, Wolf (3-2, 3.29) didn’t receive a decision after surrendering one run and five hits over six innings - the 10th time he hasn’t factored in the decision in 15 starts.
“To me, the one big star has to be Wolf,” manager Joe Torre told the team’s official Web site. “He didn’t have his good command at all, but he pieced it together, he still battled.”
Los Angeles has won seven of Wolf’s last eight starts.
Chicago has lost two straight at home in interleague play after winning eight in a row there against NL teams.