Manny Ramirez’s pinch-hit homer lifts Dodgers to win over Giants
Manny Ramirez had a curtain call to take, so he did.
The pitcher was in his windup, but never mind. The ball was on its way to the plate as Ramirez scampered up the dugout steps and onto the field, soaking in the love and applause from the Dodger Stadium crowd.
He had given the crowd something to finally cheer about. The Dodgers were shut out on Saturday, and they had been shut out for the first seven innings on Sunday, but Ramirez delivered a pinch-hit, two-run home run in the eighth inning, powering the Dodgers to a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Giants starter Barry Zito, six outs from what would have been his first shutout in seven years, took a 1-0 lead into the eighth inning. He retired Reed Johnson on a fly ball, but he walked pinch-hitter Garret Anderson, and his day was done.
The Giants turned to reliever Sergio Romo. The Dodgers countered with Ramirez, who did not start because of a tight right calf.
Ramirez looked at the first pitch, and the second, and the third. He deposited the fourth into the left-field bleachers, watching the ball sail away before hopping into his trot, raising his right hand and proceeding around the bases.
The home run was the 548th of Ramirez’s career, tying Mike Schmidt for 14th on the all-time list.
The home run also took Clayton Kershaw off the hook for what would have been a tough loss. Kershaw gave up one run -- a home run by Juan Uribe -- in seven innings.
Ramon Troncoso, the last of four Dodgers pitchers to navigate the eighth inning, got the victory. Jonathan Broxton worked a perfect ninth for his first save.