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There's no stopping a re-energized Hanley Ramirez

New Dodger, who runs past a stop sign at third base to score against the Giants, is impressing teammates with his hustle and stellar play.

July 29, 2012|By Ben Bolch
  • Hanley Ramirez runs toward home in the top of the sixth inning.
Hanley Ramirez runs toward home in the top of the sixth inning. (Tony Medina / Getty Images )

SAN FRANCISCO — As he raced around third base, Hanley Ramirez saw the extended, rigid arms of third base coach Tim Wallach.

He kept going anyway.

"Maybe," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly joked afterward, "they had a different sign in Miami than the universal hands up."

Ramirez's disregard for the directive had a happy ending Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park, the speedy infielder sliding home safely in the sixth inning of the Dodgers' 10-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

He scored after running all the way from first base on Jerry Hairston Jr.'s double down the right-field line, continuing to infuse a jolt of energy in his new team. Only four games into his career as a Dodger, Ramirez is stirring reminders of another late-season acquisition the team made in 2008 involving a player with the same last name.

Except this is not Hanley being Manny.

This is better.

"That deal, you get another Matt Kemp in a sense," Mattingly said, referring to the Dodgers' center fielder. "You get a guy that can fly, that's got power, that is that type of player."

Ramirez, 28, has flashed all of those skills and more in the first two games of this series. On Friday, he made a nice stop of a hard grounder by Justin Christian and then delivered the game-winning two-run home run in the 10th inning.

On Saturday, he had two hits, raising his average to .375 as a Dodger. He also drove in three runs, giving him six with his new team.

"That dude can still hit, man," Kemp said. "He's got a pretty swing. He's been one of my favorite players for years and now he's on the same team as me."

Kemp and Ramirez formed quite the duo, combining to go six for 10 with seven RBIs. Kemp hit a two-run homer and finished a triple short of hitting for the cycle.

"We have many ways to help this team win games," Ramirez said. "It's a gift from God."

The Dodgers appear much better positioned to contend in the National League West title now that they have another proven slugger to augment the middle of their order. Mattingly moved Ramirez into the cleanup spot for the first time Saturday, acknowledging that it was easier to fill out his lineup card with a full complement of power hitters.

"It makes our lineup better — not only what he brings at the plate, but, like today, when he's running the bases, there's an energy we can feed off," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "He's just an exciting player."

Ramirez might have been a little too pulsating for Wallach in the sixth inning.

With only one out and Juan Rivera on deck, Wallach said he wanted Ramirez to stop at third base on Hairston's double. But Ramirez said he noticed that the ball was still bouncing around in the right-field corner, so he never slowed down.

"He had a feeling he could make it and he made it," Wallach said, "so yoo hoo."

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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