Hanley Ramirez, the Dodgers have missed you.
You’ve been around and all, and playing OK. But not really approaching the Hanley Ramirez of last season who looked like the most dangerous hitter in baseball.
There was a late-night reappearance Saturday, and the timing could not have been better for him or the Dodgers.
Ramirez unloaded a three-run homer in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Dodgers a 5-2 victory over the Cubs on a rainy night at Dodger Stadium.
It was the first walk-off home run ever for Ramirez, and it helped push the Dodgers’ lead in the National League West back to 3 1/2 games over the Giants.
The Dodgers were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position until Ramirez hit his two-out homer. It was his 12th home run of the season.
The Dodgers, who have won seven of their last eight, also received a two-run shot from Matt Kemp in the fourth inning.
The Dodgers played minus three of their normal starters: first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (bruised knee), center fielder Yasiel Puig (sore hamstring) and catcher A.J. Ellis (bruised knee). None of the injuries are considered serious, and Puig and Gonzalez later pinch-hit.
The Cubs struck first, pushing a run across way back in the first inning after Chris Coghlan’s one-out double. Starlin Castro’s single to center scored the run.
The Dodgers had a difficult time figuring out Chicago’s Tsuyoshi Wada early. The first time through the lineup, he held the Dodgers to a pair of singles.
But Ramirez led off the fourth inning with a walk, which was Wada’s first of the game and seemed innocent enough. At least until Kemp unloaded his fourth home run in five games.
This was another vintage Kemp shot, powering out deeply to left-center field It was his 12th of the season.
For a time, it looked as if Hyun-Jin Ryu was going to make the 2-1 lead hold up. But he may have tired in the seventh after outfielder Junior Lake beat out a little tapper to first for an infield hit.
Cubs second baseman Arismendy Alcantara lined a double off the right-center wall that neither Scott Van Slyke nor Kemp could run down, scoring Lake with the tying run.
Ryu left after the seventh, having allowed two runs on nine hits and a walk, striking out six. Ryu was pitching on five days' rest; he came in 11-2 with a 2.80 ERA when pitching with five days between starts.
Wada, a 33-year-old rookie from Japan, lasted 5 2/3 innings. He gave up his two runs on six hits and two walks, and also struck out six.
Puig pinch-hit and singled to lead off the seventh inning but was picked off first base by reliever Brian Schlitter. Puig did not bother to slide back to the bag on the throw and just took a step.
But scoreless innings became the norm as the two teams settled in for a battle of bullpens. Opportunities were rare and then mishandled.
The Cubs used six relievers and the Dodgers five. Jamey Wright (4-2) pitched the final two innings for the Dodgers to pick up the win.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times