It didn't take long for Manny Ramirez to bust out of his home run drought, launching a solo shot in the 1st inning for the early lead. From there, he would share the stage with Andre Ethier in combining for 4 homers to give the Dodgers their 7th straight win, 9-5.
It was the perfect combination for the Dodgers in getting a win: Chad Billingsley on the mound and the offense crushing homers off some rocky Rockies pitching (ok that was weak, but I said it anyway). A day after leaving 12 men on base which nearly cost them the game, Manny hit consecutive solo shots in the 1st and 3rd off Aaron Cook for the 2-0 lead.
The 4th is when the game was temporarily blown open. Brad Ausmus started at catcher and singled to lead off. 2 outs later, Orlando Hudson, hitting leadoff for a resting Rafael Furcal, walked for 2 on. Ethier was in the #2 hole and blasted a 3-run shot for a 5-0 lead and it looked like the Dodgers would cruise.
They obviously did win, but the Rockies put up a fight starting in the 6th. Billingsley walked Seth Smith to start the inning, a bad omen. Todd Helton singled, and Brad Hawpe tripled them home 1 out later. Ian Stewart followed with a sac-fly, and Bills went from an easy start to getting hit around a bit.
It's not that he pitched poorly, he just had 1 bad inning. He finished at 6 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K. He's now 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA, proving that he is indeed healthy after a rough offseason. He's been a stud on a staff that had question marks coming into the season.
Alan Embree came on for the Rockies in the 7th, and Ethier greeted him with homer #2. Ryan Speier came on a little later, and Matt Kemp had an RBI single and Juan Castro a sac-fly. Heck, even Will Ohman added an RBI single! Didn't think I'd ever type those words.
About the only downside to the game was Ramon Troncoso in the 9th. Up 5 runs, he walked the leadoff hitter then gave up a single, getting only 1 out. Joe Torre is notorious for not trusting relievers, and I'm sure you can add Troncoso's name to that infamous list. I've got to think that his name will be next in people being sent down if he can't even get through the 9th inning of a blowout game. Not good.
Overall, it was great to see the Dodgers get 7 straight wins with Russell Martin, Rafael Furcal, and Casey Blake sitting. Getting a W with names like Brad Ausmus, Juan Castro, and Blake DeWitt in the lineup is a nice bonus. And of course, getting Manny unleashed is a dangerous sign for the rest of the league. Look out!
The Dodgers will go for a sweep, 8 straight, and 6-0 at home today when young James McDonald gets his 2nd start. I can't imagine it could be worse than his first one, so I'm hopeful.