Dodgers-Reds: Man-Tastic Moment in Mannywood as Blue Crew Sweeps Reds

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Dodgers-Reds: Man-Tastic Moment in Mannywood as Blue Crew Sweeps Reds

The city of Los Angeles is the only place a drama like this could have played out.

On Manny Ramirez Bobble Head doll night, the slugger stepped up and smacked a go-ahead, pinch-hit grand slam to propel the Los Angeles Dodgers (61-34) to a 6-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds (44-50). 

Just 24 hours after being hit on the hand and exiting the game for X-Rays, Manny was kept out of the starting lineup due to bruising in the hand. Ramirez didn't even take batting practice before the game. 

The game was tied 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning as the bases were full of Dodgers when manager Joe Torre initially sent Mark Loretta out on deck. Torre changed his mind and decided to call on Ramirez with one out.

All 56,000 fans were chanting, “Manny! Manny!” even before No. 99 was officially announced as he warmed up with a weighted bat in the on-deck circle.

Reds’ manager Dusty Baker countered with a call to the bullpen to bring in right-hander Nick Masset. On the season, righties were hitting just .125 (11-for-86) against the 27-year old.

A career 3-for-27 as a pinch-hitter, Manny had the odds against him.

But the first pitch Ramirez saw was a fastball and wasting no time, Manny lined a grand slam into the left field seats directly above the “Mannywood” sign on the outfield wall.

"It was great, one of the best moments of my career," said Ramirez. "I'm just happy it happened here. It was kind of crazy, but I loved it."

Once back in the dugout, Matt Kemp poked the head of Ramirez jokingly, and in the spirit of Bobble Head night, Manny bobbled his head. 

The sellout crowd went wild, requesting two curtain calls from Manny before the inning was over. The jubilation was so grand it really cannot be described with words, but Kemp summed up the chaos best. 

"We're all pretty amazed. And on Bobblehead Night, too? That was tight. I ran around the bases laughing. I don't understand it. He hit a 96-mph pitch. Not 90 or 91. The dude throws hard. That's crazy. No batting practice? Not off a tee? Nothing, and he can do that? I'm in awe."  

Ramirez's heroics gave Chad Billingsley his first victory since Jun. 14 as he worked six strong innings. He gave up two runs on seven hits while fanning seven Reds’ hitters. Interestingly enough, Manny pinch-hit for Billingsley—who Torre had placed in the No. 8 spot in the order because Juan Pierre assumed the ninth position for the evening. 

Andre Ethier went deep in the first inning for his 20th home run of the season. The shot evened the score at 1-1 after the Reds had jumped in front in the top of the frame.The other Dodgers run came in the fourth on a James Loney triple to left that scored Ethier and, at the time, pushed the Blue Crew ahead 2-1.

Billingsley handed the Reds the tying run in the top of the sixth when he delivered a wild pitch to bring the speedy Willy Taveras in from third and make it a 2-2 game.

After a Casey Blake fly out, Bronson Arroyo issued back-to-back walks and then a Russell Martin single to set the stage for Manny’s blast.

And it was a classic if I have ever seen one.

Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully called it “the loudest home run hit at Dodger Stadium since Kirk Gibson’s in the 1988 World Series.”

In an ironic twist, the victory also put the club 27-games over .500—for the first time since the final day of the '88 season. 

The blast was Manny’s 21st career grand slam and now he trails only the great Lou Gehrig (23) on the all-time list.

Jonathan Broxton worked a perfect ninth, in a non-save situation, to put the Reds to rest for good. The win gave the Dodgers a three-game sweep of the visiting Reds and made it 12 straight losses at Dodger Stadium for Dusty Baker’s crew from Cincinnati.

The Dodgers are now on a five-game winning streak and will rest tomorrow before wrapping up the home stand with a three-game set against the Florida Marlins. The win also solidified the Boys in Blue a full nine games ahead of second place Colorado and 10.5 games in front of stumbling San Francisco

 

 

 

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WP: Billingsley (10-5)

LP: Arroyo (10-9) 

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