Dodgers Score Five In Eighth To Win

Remember how the pundits said the Dodgers just had to hold on until Manny Ramirez got back? That they wouldn’t be scoring a lot of runs but maybe they could squeak out enough wins.

Wrong. The kids are alright. In fact they are thriving.

James Loney hit a tying three-run double in the eighth inning and Casey Blake followed with an RBI single, leading the Los Angeles to a dramatic 6-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

The Dodgers improved their record to a major league-best 36-18. Thy are now hat the halfway point of the Ramirez suspension and they are 15-10 with him out. When Manny went away the Dodgers were up by 6.5 games in the West, they are now 9 games ahead.

Dan Haren pitched seven innings of two-hit ball for the Diamondbacks and went 3 for 3 at the plate, leaving before the Diamondbacks' bullpen crumbled.

"Haren was on his game tonight. But as long as you have outs, you have a chance because there's no clock in this game. That's the fun thing about it," Loney said. "It's fun to see guys still battling and not moping around, hanging their heads."

Tony Pena, who nearly squandered a three-run lead in the ninth inning of Monday night's 3-2 win, took over for Haren in the eighth with a 5-1 lead and walked Orlando Hudson on four pitches with the bases loaded. Loney then greeted Daniel Schlereth (0-1) with his clutch hit before Blake gave the Dodgers their first lead.

Jeff Weaver (3-1) pitched two scoreless innings after replacing starter Randy Wolf. Jonathan Broxton pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save in 14 attempts.

Justin Upton hit his first career grand slam for the Diamondbacks.

Andre Ethier drove a first-pitch homer about halfway up the right field pavilion with two out in the second inning, snapping a homerless drought of 24 games and 89 at-bats by the Dodgers' right fielder. The only other hit Haren allowed was Ethier's ground-rule double with one out in the fifth.

Brad Ausmus started behind the plate for the Dodgers, one night after Russell Martin had to contend with a franchise record-tying five wild pitches thrown by relievers Cory Wade and Brent Leach. Manager Joe Torre said Ausmus' eighth start of the season already was determined on the team's flight back from Chicago on Sunday night.

Martin caught Wolf in all of his 11 previous starts, and the switch appeared to have affected the left-hander early on as he retired only five of his first 12 batters and gave up five runs.

"I don't think it was that big of a shock," Wolf said. "I mean, Brad obviously watches every game and he knows what I want to do out there. So it's definitely not an excuse for anything that happened. Brad's a very smart catcher and he does his homework, so I don't think you can really pin that on Brad and I not working together that much."

Wolf did admit to shaking off Ausmus a few times when he looked in for the sign.

"After the second inning, though, I didn't shake Brad off once," Wolf said. "I knew it wasn't going to get any worse, so at that point, I just decided to throw the pitches that Brad put down. After the second inning, it's probably the most efficient I've ever been. I told him if I ever throw to him again, I'm never shaking him off."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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