Dodgers put message from Torre to good use

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Joe Torre said Saturday that he has called too many team meetings.

So what did the Dodgers’ manager do as soon as the team was done taking batting practice?

He called another one.

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” Torre told his players, according to Andre Ethier. “Go out there and be aggressive.”

Well, it worked.

A night removed from being blanked by the San Diego Padres in the opening game of their three-game series, the Dodgers responded with only their second seven-run game in the last 15 days, taking a 7-4 decision at Dodger Stadium.

But Torre did more than utter words of reassurance in the team’s weight room, taking Manny Ramirez out of the lineup and replacing him with Juan Pierre.


Torre explained that Ramirez was due to rest today and that with the Dodgers’ offense stalled -- they were 0 for 11 with men in scoring position Friday and five for 37 in the first five games of the homestand -- he figured he might as well move up Ramirez’s day off to give the Dodgers a new look.

“Think a little bit more small and aggressive and try to manufacture more so than to wait for something big to happen,” Torre said.

Pierre was 0 for 4 but contributed far more than his line indicated.

He was as much a part of the four runs the Dodgers scored in the first two innings as anyone.

He drew a walk in the two-run first inning.

He hit a hard grounder that shortstop Everth Cabrera couldn’t handle in the second inning, the play resulting in two errors for Cabrera and two runs for the Dodgers.

Pierre moved Rafael Furcal from second to third with a sixth-inning bunt and watched from the bench as Furcal was driven in on a double by Ethier.

“Juan P can do a lot of huge things, man,” Orlando Hudson said. “There’s nothing he can’t do -- get the inning started, hit behind guys, move guys over, get clutch hits. You saw what he did in the 50 games Manny was gone. Dude’s MVP.”


Dude disagreed.

“Manny could’ve been out there and they could’ve scored seven runs,” Pierre said. “I’m not going to take credit for getting the guys going. I don’t think I have to go out there and be a sparkplug for the team.”

And Dude will probably be headed back to the bench today, as Torre said he expected Ramirez to be back in the lineup.

Pierre wasn’t the lone troublemaker at the top of the order, as Furcal was two for four with a walk and three runs.

The Dodgers didn’t completely abandon the long ball, as Ethier hit his 28th home run, a solo shot against reliever Edward Mujica in the fourth inning.

The Padres certainly did their part to help the Dodgers’ cause, sending 21-year-old rookie starter Mat Latos to the mound to serve up four runs in the first three innings.

Cabrera made three errors, two on the ball hit to him by Pierre and another on a grounder by Matt Kemp in the fourth inning. Kemp stole second and scored on a single by James Loney.


The Dodgers’ output afforded starter Randy Wolf (10-6) the rare opportunity to be bailed out by the lineup instead of the other way around.

Wolf earned his 100th victory, and fifth win in his last six starts, by surviving a rough stretch in the early innings. But Wolf settled down, retiring the last 13 batters he faced and exiting the game with a 7-2 lead.

Wolf held the Padres to two runs and four hits over seven innings. He struck out five.