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Dodgers' Hanley Ramirez and Hyun-Jin Ryu upstage a 'Gentleman'

Psy doesn't wow Dodgers fans, who see Ramirez homer in his season debut. Ryu has 12 strikeouts.

April 30, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers' Hanley Ramirez rounds third base after hitting a solo home run during the third inning.
Dodgers' Hanley Ramirez rounds third base after hitting a solo home… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

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What happened at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night was entirely scripted.

But scripts are rarely followed in sports, especially in baseball, which why the Dodgers' 6-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies was perhaps more significant for the marketing department than it was for the players.

The Dodgers handed out bobblehead dolls of Hanley Ramirez, who not only made his first start of the season but was two for four with a home run and a double.

BOX SCORE: Dodgers 6, Colorado 2

Pop star Psy visited the ballpark to promote his music, and fellow South Korean Hyun-Jin Ryu struck out a season-high 12 batters in six innings. Psy's new single, "Gentleman," was played over the public-address system before each of Ryu's plate appearances, including his third-inning at-bat, in which Ryu hit a run-scoring single.

What most of the 47,602 fans in attendance probably didn't know was that Ryu and Psy hadn't met until Ryu presented Psy with his jersey in a postgame ceremony staged the team.

Of course, all of that cross-promotion won't matter if the Dodgers (13-13) don't play better than .500 baseball. Ramirez should help in that regard.

In the first 25 games, the Dodgers' shortstops combined for one home run and one double. Ramirez matched that by the fourth inning, lined a ball down the right-field line for a double.

What was difficult to discern was whether Ramirez transformed the Dodgers' underachieving lineup or if Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa simply made it appear that way. De La Rosa couldn't get anyone out, as he was tagged for six runs and 11 hits in four innings.

Jerry Hairston Jr. and Nick Punto led off the game with consecutive singles. Hairston scored on a single by Matt Kemp and Punto on a sacrifice fly by Adrian Gonzalez to put the Dodgers ahead, 2-1.

The Dodgers' advantage doubled in the second inning to 4-1, as Hairston singled in Juan Uribe and Punto singled in Hairston. Ramirez's home run and Ryu's RBI single in the third increased the Dodgers' lead to 6-1.

The Dodgers collected 13 hits, three of them by Hairston and two each by Punto, Kemp and Ramirez.

Psy was said by a Dodgers official to be reluctant to come out of his third-level suite, as he didn't want to divert attention from Ryu. But he relented at the Dodgers' request, emerging from a stairwell next to the home dugout and dancing to parts of "Gentleman" in the middle of the fourth inning.

Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda, who sat nearby in the owner's box, stared at Psy. The crowd stood but appeared similarly unimpressed. So there was nothing for Psy to worry about, not the way Ryu (3-1) was pitching. After Ryu served up a solo home run to Carlos Gonzalez in the first inning, he retired 14 of the next 15 batters, nine by strikeout.

He didn't give up another run until the sixth inning, when Michael Cuddyer doubled in Dexter Fowler to cut the deficit to 6-2.

Ryu's 12 strikeouts were the most by a Dodgers rookie since Hideo Nomo struck out 13 against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium on Aug. 20, 1995.

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