Bobbles lead to boos for Manny
There was no translation needed to comprehend the most unusual of sounds showered upon Manny Ramirez in the sixth inning Sunday afternoon:
Dodgers fans loudly voiced their displeasure after the wildly popular left fielder allowed Aramis Ramirez’s hit to roll past him to the wall for a triple that sparked a tiebreaking two-run outburst and gave the Chicago Cubs a 3-1 victory at Dodger Stadium.
Manny Ramirez was a hot topic in multiple languages during the first Dodgers game televised in Spanish. He made two shaky plays in the outfield and was 0 for 4, dropping his average to .200 over the last seven games.
There were plenty more boos during a wacky eighth inning that included a controversial call at second base that went against the Dodgers and a bloop single by pinch-hitter Orlando Hudson that didn’t count after another umpire had called timeout.
“It was pretty big,” center fielder Matt Kemp said of the double dose of misfortune during a defeat that shaved the Dodgers’ lead to 3 1/2 games over Colorado in the National League West. “That could have been a turnaround in the game, but that’s how baseball works.”
On the play that drew fans’ ire in the sixth, Ramirez paused at the wall in front of the “Mannywood” section in left field and seemingly jogged to collect Aramis Ramirez’s hit after it bounced past him.
“I can’t control it,” Manny Ramirez said of the fans’ reaction. “They want to win and we want to win also.”
Aramis Ramirez scored on Kosuke Fukudome’s double down the right-field line to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Jake Fox added a run-scoring single up the middle against Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley (12-7), who surrendered three runs and nine hits in six innings but refused to pin the loss on his teammate’s misadventures in left field.
“He tried to cut that ball off that one time and it just got by him,” Billingsley said. “ . . . I don’t think the score would’ve been anything different.”
Manny Ramirez’s other questionable fielding play came in the fourth, when he bobbled Mike Fontenot’s bloop single and bounced his throw past third baseman Casey Blake. He redeemed himself slightly in the eighth when he threw out Aramis Ramirez attempting to go from first to third on Fox’s single.
Dempster (7-7) held the Dodgers to one run and three hits in seven-plus innings, with Tony Abreu’s single in the second pulling the Dodgers into a 1-1 tie after Fox had homered for the Cubs earlier in the inning.
The Dodgers appeared to have something going in the eighth when Russell Martin drew a leadoff walk, prompting Cubs Manager Lou Piniella to replace Dempster with John Grabow. The reliever walked Abreu and reached a 3-and-0 count on Mark Loretta before coming back with two strikes to bring the count full.
Loretta then grounded to shortstop Ryan Theriot deep in the hole, and Theriot’s throw initially appeared to pull second baseman Fontenot off the bag. Second base umpire Chad Fairchild called Abreu out on the play, prompting Dodgers Manager Joe Torre to race out of the dugout in protest as fans jeered the call.
“He saw it one way and we saw it another,” Torre said of Fairchild. “He had to make a quick decision, but it just looked to me from my angle like he was off the bag.”
With one out and runners on first and third, Hudson hit a single to shallow center that fell between the Cubs’ middle infielders. Only one problem: Third base umpire Wally Bell had called time before Grabow’s pitch, meaning it didn’t count.
Hudson then hit into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play, triggering even louder boos.
“I didn’t come through,” Hudson said. “We lost. Bottom line.”
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Before and after shots
When Manny Ramirez hit his pinch-hit grand slam July 22, it helped the Dodgers to a 6-2 victory over Cincinnati, the Dodgers’ fifth win in a row. They led the National League West after that game by nine games. They have been anything but grand since:
STANDINGS THROUGH JULY 22
*--* DODGERS 61 34 642 -- Colorado 52 43 547 9 San Francisco 50 44 540 10 1/2 *--*
*--* DODGERS 74 51 592 -- Colorado 70 54 565 3 1/2 San Francisco 67 57 540 6 1/2 *--*
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