ATLANTA — As suspended Manager Don Mattingly watched from an empty broadcasting booth, it looked as if the Dodgers faced a long night.
The Atlanta Braves jumped in front, 1-0, after only seven pitches from Aaron Harang at Turner Field on Saturday.
But as Harang settled down, the Dodgers had their pitcher's back, as in back-to-back-to-back home runs by Hanley Ramirez, James Loney and Luis Cruz in the third inning against Ben Sheets.
Ramirez hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning and the Dodgers defeated Atlanta, 6-2, in front of 42,219 at baseball's annual Civil Rights Game.
The Dodgers remained half a game behind first-place San Francisco in the National League West.
After losing Friday to Atlanta, "now we've got a chance to come back tomorrow and try to win the [three-game] series," Ramirez said.
The game had several unusual features.
The Dodgers managed only four hits but all were home runs, the first time it has happened to the club since June 14, 2002, when they lost to the Angels, 8-4.
The Dodgers' four home runs were a season high, and the most for the Dodgers in one game since they hit four Aug. 23, 2011, against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
And it was the first time since June 12, 2007, that three consecutive Dodgers hit home runs. The home run spree Saturday meant Sheets (4-3) "never even [pitched] out of the stretch until later in the game," said Harang, who improved to 9-7.
Ramirez hit a Sheets fastball for his second home run after Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier walked.
Ramirez's home run pointed up how the Dodgers now have "another impactful bat in the middle of the order," said bench coach Trey Hillman, who's managing the Dodgers during Mattingly's two-game suspension.
But Hillman also said "the key for me was [Harang] getting out of that first inning" having given up only one run.
Harang said "I went out there and felt like I couldn't get comfortable on the mound. I just ended up battling through.
"Then the guys came out in the top of the second, put three runs on the board really fast, and when they do that it makes it easier to throw strikes and try and execute."
Atlanta threatened to score in the seventh inning when Michael Bourn hit a one-out triple.
But after Harang struck out Martin Prado, Hillman replaced Harang with left-hander Randy Choate, who struck out Jason Heyward to quash the threat.
The Braves loaded the bases with two out in the eighth inning after Javy Guerra walked two batters and Shawn Tolleson walked one. Hillman brought in closer Kenley Jansen, who struck out pinch-hitter Juan Francisco.
But Jansen was tagged for a home run by Prado in the ninth inning.