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Dodgers’ win is a crowd pleaser

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Times Staff Writer

He had not taken a step toward home plate, and already the chant had started.

Man-ny! Man-ny!

From the moment Jeff Kent had gotten hit by a pitch in the third inning, forcing the other guy to face Manny Ramirez with the bases loaded, the chant started. No cheesy directive on the scoreboard, no cue from the sound system, just fans at Dodger Stadium following the game and recognizing the moment, the anticipation rising with the decibel level.

Man-ny! Man-ny!

Ramirez delivered by doubling home two runs, whipping the crowd into a frenzy and sparking the Dodgers to an 8-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday. His was the first big hit of a six-run third inning and a victory that lifted the Dodgers -- and their 59-59 record -- to within one game of the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West.

“We’re competing against them now,” Kent said. “We’re not competing against a plus-.500 record.”

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The Dodgers coughed up leads in the 10th inning Saturday and ninth inning Sunday, and they nearly did it again.

Jonathan Broxton, who blew his first save Saturday since replacing the injured Takashi Saito as closer last month, got the final four outs for his eighth save. The Phillies loaded the bases with two out in the ninth, and Chase Utley singled home two runs, but Broxton got Ryan Howard to ground out.

“He certainly got tested,” Dodgers Manager Joe Torre said of Broxton. “He went through the heart of that order. I think it has to help his confidence.”

In the third inning, the Dodgers blitzed the Phillies within the span of four batters: a two-run double from Ramirez, a two-run single from James Loney and a two-run home run from Casey Blake.

Ramirez got the party started, with the bases loaded, nowhere for the Phillies to put him and that Hollywood buzz from the crowd.

“They see Manny come out of the dugout, and they can’t wait for him to come up and hit,” Torre said. “They hope it’s a situation where they have to pitch to him.”

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The crowd was less than thrilled when the Phillies walked Ramirez in each of his two appearances that followed his big hit.

The Dodgers had 16 hits in all, including three apiece from Kent, Loney and Matt Kemp. Derek Lowe, who gave up 13 hits in 3 1/3 innings in his previous start, gave up five hits in 6 1/3 innings for the win.

The new guys looked good, again. Blake hit his third home run in 17 games with the Dodgers, the same amount Andruw Jones has hit in 74 games. Ramirez has driven in 13 runs in 10 games with the Dodgers; Jones has driven in 14.

The old guy hitting in front of Ramirez looked good too. Kent reached base in all four plate appearances, with two singles and a double in addition to that hit by pitch. In five games since replacing Russell Martin as the No. 3 hitter, Kent is batting .500 (nine for 18).

And there was a Manny moment, when the Dodgers had to find Ramirez so he could play left field in the ninth inning. Torre said Ramirez had headed back to the clubhouse because he mistakenly thought he had been replaced for defensive purposes; Ramirez said he had to go to the bathroom.

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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