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MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Hanley Ramirez leads Dodgers in return to Miami

Ramirez has three hits, scores a run and drives in two, including the go-ahead run in the sixth inning in the Dodgers' 5-2 win over the Marlins.

August 10, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Hanley Ramirez had three hits in four at-bats in his first game against his old team.
Hanley Ramirez had three hits in four at-bats in his first game against his… (Pedro Portal / Associated…)

MIAMI — The first time Hanley Ramirez walked toward the batter's box at half-empty Marlins Park on Friday night, the vocal crowd was divided in its response.

But with every at-bat Ramirez took, the reaction became increasingly one-sided — for the worse. Playing as a visitor for the first time in the stadium he called home only three weeks ago, Ramirez was being booed.

"Everybody has haters, you know?" he said, smiling. "But it's OK. I still love them. There was a lot of support those seven years I was down here."

Ramirez's performance in the Dodgers' 5-2 victory over the Miami Marlins was a reminder of his better days here, before he was accused of not hustling or of being a bad teammate.

Ramirez resembled the player who won a batting title and was a three-time All-Star, as he collected three hits, scored a run and drove in two more, including the go-ahead run in the sixth inning.

"I don't expect anything less from him," pitcher Clayton Kershaw said. "He's one of the most talented guys I've ever played with, just tools-wise. He's starting to get locked in and that's a good thing for us."

Ramirez acknowledged this was a game he was glad was over. He didn't go out of his way to interact with his former teammates, unlike reliever Randy Choate, who made the move from Miami to Los Angeles with him. Choate was in the Marlins clubhouse before the game.

But from the time Ramirez showed up at the ballpark, he smiled often.

"It's a wonderful day," he said. "I'm with my family. I got a chance to spend a day with my kids, my wife, my parents."

His three children, who have remained in Miami with his wife, were with him in the clubhouse after the game.

He showed a sense of humor, describing how he was initially intimidated by the Los Angeles freeway system.

When asked about the Marlins' decision to walk Matt Kemp to load the bases and face him in the seventh inning, Ramirez replied, "I would do it too. I'm hitting .240."

Walking by, Kemp shook his head.

"Not in a Dodger uniform," Kemp said loud enough for everyone nearby to hear.

Ramirez hit a dribbler down the third base line for an infield hit that drove inA.J. Ellisto increase the Dodgers' lead to 5-2.

By the end of the game, Ramirez was three for five and batting .248 on the season, a modest two points better than at the time of his trade to the Dodgers.

The at-bat that was most memorable to Kershaw was Ramirez's first, in the second inning, even though the shortstop flied out to left.

"He barely got under that first ball he hit tonight," Kershaw said. "It might have gone 500 feet."

Ramirez's most important hit came in the sixth inning. He came to the plate after Kemp had doubled in Mark Ellis to tie the game, 1-1.

Ramirez shot the ball into right field, driving in Kemp to move the Dodgers ahead, 2-1. Ramirez looked to the Dodgers' dugout and his trademark "I See You" hand signal.

Two batters later, Juan Rivera hit a two-run home run. The Dodgers were up, 4-1.

The lead was more than enough for Kershaw and the bullpen. Kershaw held the Marlins to two runs and three hits over 6 1/3 innings. Closer Kenley Jansen saved his 23rd game.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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