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DODGERS 7, ARIZONA 2

Dodgers remain perfect at home

Manny Ramirez and Andre Ethier homer and Dodgers improve to 11-0 at Chavez Ravine with easy win over Diamondbacks.

May 05, 2009|DYLAN HERNANDEZ

What part of this wasn't expected?

Manny Ramirez went deep. So did Andre Ethier.

Matt Kemp ran down a couple of more hard-to-catch balls in the outfield and stole two bases.

The Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-2, on Monday night to become the first National League team in history to win its first 11 games at home. They also extended their lead in the West to 5 1/2 games over second-place San Francisco.

Come to think of it, something unusual did happen Monday: Casey Blake hit into a triple play.

With Russell Martin on first base and Matt Kemp on second, Blake lined to shortstop Josh Wilson in the second inning. When Blake made contact on a 3-and-2 pitch, the runners were on the move. Both were thrown out.

The last Dodger to do what Blake did was Alfredo Griffin, who hit into a triple play in Houston on Aug. 4, 1991.

Otherwise, it was more of the same at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers, who have the best record in baseball at 19-8, beat up on another team in a division that doesn't have another team with a record better than .500.

Eric Stults, who won his first game of the season in an emergency start in Arizona on April 11, held the Diamondbacks to two runs and five hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Ramirez and Ethier immediately handed a Stults a two-run lead, each hitting their sixth home runs of the season on consecutive first-inning pitches by Doug Davis.

Sacrifice flies by Stults and Ramirez in the fifth inning increased the Dodgers' lead to 4-1 and ended Davis' night.

The Dodgers scored two more runs an inning later, as Kemp doubled in Martin from first, stole third and scored when Rafael Furcal reached base on a two-out error.

Tony Clark, who failed to hold onto a throw from Wilson, had come in the game as a defensive replacement two batters earlier.

The Dodgers' quick start this season looked awfully familiar to the visitors.

"I've seen that," Diamondbacks Manager Bob Melvin said, referring to how his team started last season 20-8, only to finish second in the West to the Dodgers.

The 2008 Diamondbacks, like the 2009 Dodgers, were an offensive force in the first month of the season.

They averaged 5.9 runs a game through April but only 4.1 the rest of the way. They finished the season with an 82-80 record. The Dodgers are averaging 5.5 runs a game.

"I'm sure they feel good about it every day," Melvin said. "They're a better offensive team, certainly, this year. When you bring in guys like Ramirez and Blake, it takes pressure off the younger guys. You don't feel like you have to be the guy to hit every night. There's a central figure who you know will be there. I think they're all benefiting from that."

Dodgers Manager Joe Torre managed the last NL team to start 10-0 at home, the 1983 Atlanta Braves.

That piece of trivia surprised Torre, who said he couldn't recall that happening but did say thatthere are few similarities between the '83 Braves and '09 Dodgers.

"This," Torre said, "is a better team than we had down there."

They better be. That Braves team couldn't sustain the early momentum either, finishing second in the NL West. To the Dodgers.

--

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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DODGERS TONIGHT

VS. ARIZONA

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Dodger Stadium.

On the air: TV: Ch. 9. Radio: 790, 930.

Pitchers: Jeff Weaver vs. Max Scherzer.

Update: Originally called up from triple-A Albuquerque to bolster the Dodgers' troubled bullpen, Weaver is taking the rotation spot of rookie James McDonald, who was 1-1 with an 8.78 earned-run average in four starts. Weaver pitched well Thursday in four scoreless innings of relief. Weaver's last big-league start was on Sept. 28, 2007, as a member of the Seattle Mariners. Scherzer threw six scoreless innings against Milwaukee on Thursday but failed to earn the first win of his career after the Diamondbacks' bullpen blew the 1-0 lead he handed them. The 24-year-old right-hander posted a 3.38 earned-run average in three games, including one start, against the Dodgers last season.

-- Dylan Hernandez

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