LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The addition of Hanley Ramirez has invigorated the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ramirez lined an RBI single over a drawn-in infield in the ninth inning, and Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs with a seesaw 7-6 victory on Sunday. Los Angeles remains a half-game behind NL West-leading San Francisco and 3 1-2 ahead of third-place Arizona.
''We knew what we were getting when we got Hanley. He's a very special player, someone who can definitely change a game and is a difference maker,'' right fielder Andre Ethier said. ''So we're pretty fortunate to have him come over here for the rest of the season and two more years. It adds another really exciting player to our lineup. And his defense is pretty good out there, too, the way he's able to man both third base and shortstop.''
Shawn Camp (2-5) walked Matt Kemp on four pitches with one out in the ninth and Ethier's single put runners at the corners for Ramirez, who is 10 for 42 with 11 RBIs in 11 games since he was acquired from the Miami Marlins - including a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 10th inning of a 5-3 win at San Francisco on July 27.
''I like these moments. That's why I'm here for, to help this team win ballgames,'' Ramirez said. ''I'm not trying to do too much - just take what they give you - and that's the key for me. I was looking for a fastball in, so I just wanted to slow down everything and turn quick on it.''
Cubs rookie Anthony Rizzo had three RBIs, including a tying solo home run leading off the top of the ninth against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen (5-3) after Ethier gave Los Angeles a 6-5 lead with a two-run double in the seventh against James Russell. The blown save was Jansen's sixth in 27 opportunities.
Alfonso Soriano put the Cubs ahead 5-4 in the seventh with a two-run single against Javy Guerra, who came in after Randy Choate gave up Rizzo's sacrifice fly.
Joe Blanton allowed two runs and five hits, struck out five and tied a season high with three walks in his Dodgers debut. The nine-year veteran right-hander, who was acquired from Philadelphia on Friday in a trade after Los Angeles claimed him on waivers, departed with a 4-2 lead before the bullpen squandered it.
''He's a quality starter and he'll add a little depth to our rotation,'' Ethier said. ''When we faced him with Philly, he was always solid and gave them a good quality outing. He got a chance today to get things going with us, and he that's definitely what he did. He made one or two mistakes, but he battled through those situations and gave us a chance. We had the win set up for him, but unfortunately we gave the lead away.''
Cubs reliever Scott Maine gave up a bases-loaded walk to pinch-hitter Juan Rivera and the two-run single by Luis Cruz that put the Dodgers ahead 4-2 in the sixth. The rally began when Cubs starter Justin Germano hit Mark Ellis with a 3-2 pitch and Alberto Cabrera loaded the bases with walks to Kemp and Ramirez.
Germano was charged with two runs and three hits in 5 1-3 innings on the eve of his 31st birthday. The right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to help fortify a rotation that was depleted by the trades of Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm on Tuesday, and a triceps issue with Matt Garza that may have kept him from being dealt away as well.
Los Angeles tied the score at 1 in the fifth when James Loney singled and came home on a two-out double by A.J. Ellis. But the Cubs regained the lead in the sixth on Welington Castillo's a two-out solo homer. It was the 23rd home run allowed by Blanton, the most in the NL.
''I felt like I kept the ball down, except for that one mistake,'' Blanton said. ''That's what I've been trying to focusing on - keeping the ball down, because I've been messing up and giving up a lot of homers.''
Blanton, who gave up only 18 walks over 133 1-3 innings in his 20 previous starts this season, issued one in each of the first three innings. The only one that cost him was his first-inning leadoff walk to David DeJesus, who scored on Rizzo's one-out single. Rizzo has 21 RBIs in 33 games since getting recalled from the minors on June 26.
''It was a good ballgame. Unfortunately, in the sixth and seventh innings, you can't put five guys on without any hits. That was probably the difference in the game,'' manager Dale Sveum said. ''But it's nice to get some guys in the lineup now that are going to develop at the big league level, so we can see what we've got.''
Brett Jackson, the Cubs' No.1 draft pick in 2009 out of Cal-Berkeley, made his major league debut in center field just three days after his 24th birthday and singled twice in four at-bats after his contract was selected from Triple-A Iowa. Third baseman Josh Vitters, the Cubs' third overall pick in the in the 2007 draft out of Cyprus (Calif.) High School, also was recalled from Iowa and flied out as a pinch-hitter in his big league debut.
NOTES: Garza was sent home by the Cubs, who plan on putting him on the 15-day disabled list. But no roster move was announced after the game. ... Former Dodgers pitching great Don Newcombe, currently the club's special adviser to the Chairman, will be presented with the Beacon of Hope Award when the team is in Atlanta for the annual Delta Civil Rights Game on Aug. 18. ... The Cubs traded reserve infielder Jeff Baker to Detroit for two players to be named, after the Tigers claimed Baker off waivers. Outfielder Tony Campana was optioned to the Cubs' top farm club.
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Los Angeles
- Chicago Cubs
- Hanley Ramirez
- Andre Ethier
- Anthony Rizzo