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Dodgers win big but still get a little scare

Furcal homers and drives in four runs to lead Dodgers to a 12-3 rout of the Reds, but Manny Ramirez leaves the game after being hit by a pitch in third inning. X-rays are negative.


Dodgers Manager Joe Torre later confessed he was concerned at that moment. So did pitcher Randy Wolf.

Manny Ramirez was holding his left hand.

Dodger Stadium was silent.

"It's scary," Torre said. "It's so easy to break a bone."

Hit by a 95-mph fastball from Homer Bailey, Ramirez had to be replaced in the third inning by Juan Pierre, followed by a trip to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena.

But by the time the Dodgers completed their 12-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, they were told they could exhale.

The X-rays on Ramirez's hand came back negative.

"Obviously, the concern is about Manny," Wolf said. "We need him in the lineup."

Ramirez was listed by the club as day to day.

"We're very fortunate to hear it's just a bruise," Torre said. "If he has to miss tomorrow, he has to miss tomorrow, but let's hope he doesn't have to."

The pitch by Bailey that struck Ramirez on the side of his hand was about the only time the Reds managed to strike fear in the Dodgers on this night.

Wolf held the Reds to two runs over 7 1/3 innings, and Rafael Furcal homered and drove in four runs for the Dodgers (60-34), who became the first team in baseball to reach 60 wins and are 26 games over .500 for the first time since the final week of the 1991 season.

"Thirty is the next one," Torre said of his team's immediate goal.

The Dodgers' lead over the Colorado Rockies in the National League West expanded to nine games.

For Wolf, the victory was his first at Dodger Stadium this season. Mr. No-Decision entered the game with a respectable 4.09 earned-run average at home, but had only an 0-2 record to show for it.

Wolf (5-4), who had 12 no-decisions in his first 20 starts, gave up a solo home run to Jonny Gomes in the second inning but little else until the Reds scored their second run on a double by Drew Sutton in the eighth.

"It's been kind of a weird year," Wolf said. "It's been feast or famine."

The feast came early Tuesday.

Ramirez tripled down the left-field line off Bailey in the first inning to drive in Furcal and Orlando Hudson, putting the Dodgers ahead, 2-0.

No. 8 hitter Matt Kemp launched a ball into the Mannywood section for a two-run home run that extended the Dodgers' lead to 4-1 in the second. The homer was Kemp's 13th of the season.

Booed by the home fans the previous night for letting a foul ball drop near his feet, Ramirez made a shoestring catch in left-center for the final out in the top of the third inning and earned a rousing ovation.

Then he was hit by Bailey.

The concerns of his teammates lessened once he reached the dugout.

Furcal said that Ramirez was able to squeeze his hand.

Wolf said Ramirez told him, "I'll be all right, I'll be all right," as he walked by the bench on his way to the clubhouse.

Bailey never made it out of the inning, as back-to-back two-run singles by James Loney and Furcal capped a five-run outburst that put the Dodgers ahead, 9-1.

Bailey (1-2), who threw two wild pitches in the inning, was charged with nine runs (six earned) and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings. His ERA inflated to 7.63.

The game moved completely out of the Reds' reach in the fifth, when the Dodgers added three more runs.

Loney scored on a double by Wolf, which was followed up by Furcal's two-run homer.


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