Dodgers' Randy Wolf gets plenty of help


The last two-plus weeks felt like a distant memory.

Tuesday night, the Dodgers looked like the team that once had a 9 1/2 -game lead in the National League West, not the team that had that margin whittled down to 5 1/2 games.

Manny Ramirez doubled, homered and drove in three runs in the Dodgers' second victory over the San Francisco Giants in as many days, a 9-1 thumping at AT&T; Park.

Matt Kemp hit a three-run home run. Andre Ethier had three hits, drove in two runs and scored two more. James Loney broke out of an 0-for-13 rut by driving in a run and scoring another on a two-for-four night.

Randy Wolf was masterful, limiting the Giants to a run and three hits over a season-high eight innings that preserved a bullpen that could have to log extra work in the series finale today because of the absence of Chad Billingsley.

By the end of the night, the Dodgers were up 6 1/2 games on the second-place Colorado Rockies and 7 1/2 ahead of the third-place Giants.

"We had a chance to do something special tonight," Manager Joe Torre said. "We needed to put something on the good side of the ledger and hopefully we can build on this on this road trip."

In the early innings, the Dodgers hit the way they did in their brutal 2-5 homestand last week, when they lost the last three games.

Giants starter Joe Martinez intentionally walked Ramirez in the first inning with Ethier on second base to get to Casey Blake, who grounded out to end the inning. Ramirez was walked again in the third with runners on second and third, and Blake again grounded out.

Ethier's fifth-inning double drove in Rafael Furcal and Russell Martin and gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. First base was open, but Giants Manager Bruce Bochy elected to have Martinez pitch to Ramirez this time.


Ramirez slammed a double down the left-field line, scoring Ethier. A single by Loney increased the Dodgers' advantage to 4-1 and ended the second-ever start by Martinez, who spent almost four months on the disabled list recovering from being struck in the head by a line drive in April.

"It's a different situation," Bochy said of the call to face Ramirez. "You don't want to start putting guys on with nobody out."

Ramirez and the Dodgers weren't done. He lifted a 1-2 curveball by Giants reliever Brandon Medders over the wall in left field and into the group of fans who heckled him.

The two-run shot was the 540th home run of Ramirez's career -- and only the second since he hit a pinch-hit grand slam on his bobblehead night at Dodger Stadium on July 22.

Asked if his swing was back, Ramirez replied, "It never went anywhere."

Kemp hit an 0-2 pitch for a three-run home run to dead center later in the inning and the Dodgers were up, 9-1.

"I was trying not to strike out," he said.

Like Ramirez, Kemp blasted the ball near a group of fans who taunted him. The center fielder exchanged words with one particular fan, who leaned over the wall as he caught a fly ball by Bengie Molina at the warning track.

"He said some stuff," Kemp said.

The lead was more than enough for Wolf (6-6), who entered the game with 13 no-decisions as a result of substandard run support.

"This is probably the best game I've pitched with that kind of lead," Wolf said.


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