LOS ANGELES (AP)—Each time Hanley Ramirez came to the plate, the Florida Marlins had no one in scoring position. That turned out to be a blessing for them, considering the vast difference in his average with runners in scoring position and without.
Ramirez homered with two outs in the 11th inning, capping the first five-hit game of his career and helping the Marlins beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 on Thursday night.
Ramirez, the starting shortstop for the NL in next Tuesday’s All-Star game, is batting only .219 with runners in scoring position—but .334 the rest of the time.
“I don’t know why,” Ramirez said. “I think I just try to do too much when I’ve got men on base and I think I put more pressure on myself. So I’ve got to keep working on that and try to stay the same. I’ve got a lot to improve on.”
Ramirez was 5-for-6 and raised his average to .317. The Marlins’ leadoff hitter singled his first three times up and doubled in his next at-bat. His 23rd homer of the season came on the first pitch he saw from Brian Falkenborg (1-2)
“We were just trying to keep the ball down. But with a guy like that, if you just miss by a couple of inches, the ball is gone. And that’s what happened,” catcher Russell Martin said. “Sometimes you can try to stay away from guys like that, but he’s one of those freaks where he’s got so much power to all fields.”
Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson threw 88 pitches over five innings in his first appearance since July 4, 2007, allowing three runs, three hits and no walks while striking out six.
Johnson was 0-3 in his four starts last season, pitching a total of 15 2-3 innings and allowing 13 earned runs before undergoing Tommy John surgery on Aug. 3. The 24-year-old right-hander began the 2007 campaign on the disabled list, missing almost three months because of nerve irritation in his arm.
“It was tough. I went through last year trying to rehab it and stuff, and it just wasn’t right from the beginning,” Johnson said of his surgically repaired elbow. “But I went in with the right attitude, being positive and working hard every day. That’s what brought me back here.
“It’s been a long time coming. I felt great out there, and that was the main thing I wanted to get out of this. My control is what I focused on in my rehab starts—pounding the zone and not walking anybody.”
John Baker hit his first major league home run for the Marlins, who tied a franchise mark by homering in their 12th consecutive game. They had a pair of 12-game streaks last season after the All-Star break. Florida has hit 131 home runs altogether, after hitting a club-record 201 in 2007.
Dan Uggla returned to the Florida lineup after missing 11 games with a left ankle strain and was 0-for-3 with two walks. The All-Star second baseman was leading the majors with 23 home runs on June 28 when he was injured trying to stretch a single into a double against Arizona.
Dodgers right-hander Chan Ho Park was charged with four runs—three earned — and nine hits over four innings. He is 1-2 with a 2.16 ERA in five starts after beginning the season in the bullpen, and is expected to remain in the rotation until Brad Penny recovers from shoulder problems that have sidelined the two-time All-Star since June 13.
Martin greeted reliever Ryan Tucker with his 10th home run leading off the sixth, tying the score at 4-all after the Marlins regained the lead with an RBI single by Johnson—who has six hits and four RBIs in 51 big league at-bats.
The Dodgers tied it at 3-all in the third with two-out RBI singles by Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Martin. Johnson had struck out five of his first seven batters before No. 8 hitter Angel Berroa triggered the Dodgers’ rally with a one-out single.
“I thought he looked pretty solid,” Martin said of Johnson. “The first time through the lineup, he was outstanding—hitting his spots and throwing that backdoor breaking ball real nicely. Pitch after pitch, he seemed like he was throwing it right where he wanted it. It was a pretty good start for his first time back.”
Ramirez opened the game with an infield single that triggered a two-run first inning. He advanced on Park’s first balk since 2004 with Texas, and Jorge Cantu singled him home. Center fielder Kemp bobbled Cantu’s hit, allowing him to take an extra base, and Josh Willingham followed with an RBI double over Kemp’s head.
The Marlins added a run in the second when Baker parked a 1-2 pitch over the right-field fence.
Ramirez committed his 16th error on Martin’s routine grounder in the eighth, but Martin was stranded at second when Renyel Pinto struck out Andruw Jones. … The Dodgers reached an agreement with their first-round draft pick, RHP Ethan Martin, the 15th overall selection. Their last five No. 1 picks all have been high school pitchers, including Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw, who is back in the minors after going 0-2 with a 4.42 ERA this season in his first eight big league starts. … Florida’s Cody Ross extended his career-best hitting streak to 14 games with a single in the eighth.