Manny Who? Dodgers Win Again.

The Dodgers have the best record in baseball since Manny Ramirez was first suspended.

On the night Manny Ramirez started playing ball again, the Los Angeles Dodgers showed why they haven't missed him very much.

"We play the same way every day," catcher Russell Martin said after Tuesday's 5-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox. "Our pitching has been great. You can't really get better than what we're doing right now."

James Loney, whose two-run homer backed Hiroki Kuroda's outstanding pitching, disagreed.

"I don't think there's a team that (wouldn't want) Manny," Loney said. "When he comes back, it will just make us that much better."

That's a scary thought. The Dodgers have been the top team this season both with and without their star slugger, who on May 7 was suspended 50 games for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy.

While Ramirez was going hitless in two at-bats for Triple-A Albuquerque in his first game since the suspension, the Dodgers were improving to 47-24. They are 26-16 so far without Ramirez. Each mark is an MLB best.

Kuroda (2-3) made winning without Manny look easy, allowing four hits in 8 2/3 innings.

He gave up only Paul Konerko's second-inning homer and Jermaine Dye's single until there were two outs in the ninth. Kuroda then allowed two more hits, including Dye's RBI single, before Jonathan Broxton earned his 18th save by striking out Jim Thome.

"He was terrific as far as his command," manager Joe Torre said. "He's not going to beat you with his velocity. He's going to beat you with his location and movement. He was throwing a lot of strikes. It was nice to watch."

Kuroda fanned nine and walked none in outpitching John Danks (5-6), who again received little support at U.S. Cellular Field. Chicago is last in the AL with 119 runs in home games and has scored two runs or fewer in six of Danks' seven home starts.

Danks allowed three runs on only three hits -- all in the first two innings -- and retired 17 of the final 18 batters he faced over seven innings, but the White Sox lost for the ninth time in their last 12 home games.

Orlando Hudson's RBI double gave the Dodgers a first-inning lead and Loney's fifth homer made it 3-0 in the second.

Konerko's home run cut the Dodgers' lead to two and that's how things stayed until the eighth, when Casey Blake hit a two-run single off reliever Octavio Dotel.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was ejected by home-plate umpire Joe West earlier in the eighth for arguing ball-and-strike calls. It was Guillen's second ejection this season and 18th of his career.

"That's the weakest ejection I've ever had," Guillen said. "I asked where the pitch was, he didn't like my question and he kicked me out of the game. He big-leagued me. I'm not going to say much because it might cost me one day without pay and one day without my ballclub."


Copyright AP - Associated Press
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