Ethier’s 4 RBIs, Ramirez’s homer lift Dodgers
SAN DIEGO (AP)—Andre Ethier drove in four runs, Manny Ramirez quieted the boos with a line-drive homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the last-place San Diego Padres 6-2 on Tuesday night to extend their NL West lead to 2 1/2 games.
The win came shortly after second-place Arizona lost 5-4 at San Francisco. The Dodgers won for the ninth time in 10 games.
The Padres (56-89) were eliminated from postseason contention. San Diego won the weak NL West in 2005 and 2006, then fell one victory short of making it to the postseason last year.
Los Angeles was leading 3-2 when Ethier hit a three-run double into the right-field corner with two outs in the ninth. He tripled an inning earlier to tie the game.
Ethier has batted in the No. 2 spot ahead of Ramirez for the last 12 games, hitting .500 (23-for-46) with 14 RBIs.
Ramirez had been 0-for-6 in this series and was booed every time he came to the plate. But he lined rookie Wade LeBlanc’s first pitch of the sixth into the left-field seats to pull the Dodgers to 2-1. It was his 522nd career homer, passing Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams for sole possession of 17th place.
It was Ramirez’s 12th homer with Los Angeles and 32nd overall. He was traded by Boston on July 31.
The Dodgers rallied for two runs off Heath Bell (6-6) in the eighth. Russell Martin hit a leadoff double to left-center and scored when Ethier tripled into the left-field corner. Rookie Chase Headley stumbled as he tried to track down Ethier’s hit.
Ethier scored the go-ahead run on Ramirez’s sacrifice fly.
Ramirez has six homers and 15 RBIs in his last 12 games. He has 36 RBIs and a .395 batting average since joining the Dodgers.
Joe Beimel (5-1) got the last out of the seventh and first two of the eighth for the win.
LeBlanc pitched six solid innings in his second big league start, holding the Dodgers to one run and five hits. The 24-year-old left-hander bounced back from a rough big league debut when he allowed eight hits and five runs in four innings in a 6-4 loss at Dodger Stadium last Wednesday night.
Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda also went six innings, allowing two runs and nine hits.
San Diego’s Kevin Kouzmanoff hit an RBI double in the first and Headley doubled in a run in the third. Adrian Gonzalez tried to score from first on Headley’s hit, but was called out at the plate by umpire Marty Foster. First baseman Nomar Garciaparra’s relay throw beat Gonzalez to the plate, but replays appeared to show that he slid in under Martin’s tag.
Padres rookie catcher Nick Hundley was ejected by Foster for arguing a called third strike that ended the eighth. … Luis Rodriguez had two sacrifice bunts, the first time a Padres position player has done that since Jay Payton did it against Chicago on Aug. 12, 2004. Since then, the feat has been accomplished 10 times by Padres pitchers. … Dodgers RHP Brad Penny (shoulder) could be activated from the disabled list as early as Wednesday. … RHP Takashi Saito (elbow) will throw a simulated game Wednesday and SS Rafael Furcal (lower back surgery) will take part in it. Both could be activated by the weekend or early next week.