- Arash Markazi, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- Hanleywood is nowhere near as popular as Mannywood, but if Hanley Ramirez can continue to have walk-off hits like he did Sunday, it could be on its way.
Ramirez singled to left in the bottom of the ninth inning to score Matt Kemp and give the Los Angeles Dodgers a 7-6 win over the Chicago Cubs.
The win fell into the “much-needed” category after the San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies, 8-3, earlier in the day. The Dodgers are still half a game behind the Giants in their seesaw race for the National League West title.
Andre the giant: It had been a forgettable couple of weeks for Andre Ethier, who was 3-for-22 on the current homestand when he went to the plate in the seventh inning with the Dodgers down 6-4. It didn’t look to get any better as he found himself up against a left-handed pitcher, which hasn’t been a good matchup for Ethier as of late. Ethier was 7-for-65 and five for his last 62 against left-handed pitchers since June 1. That was before he doubled to deep center to score Mark Ellis and Matt Kemp to give the Dodgers a 6-5 lead.
Cruz in control: Luis Cruz came up big when the Dodgers needed him most, singling to left in the sixth inning to score Kemp and Ramirez to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. The two-run single broke Cruz out of a slump: He was 1-for-14 on the homestand (.071) before and now has 18 RBIs in 27 games. He finished the game with two hits, two RBIs and a stolen base.
Ramirez rolls: It had also been a tough homestand for Ramirez, who was batting .111 (2-for-18) coming into Sunday’s game and was hitless before he made the play of the day with his walk-off base hit to give the Dodgers the win.
Shaky bullpen: The Dodgers’ bullpen didn’t make anything easy after Blanton left the game. With the Dodgers holding a 4-2 lead in the seventh inning, Don Mattingly was forced to go to the mound twice as the trio of Randy Choate, Brandon League and Javy Guera were needed to escape the inning -- after giving up three runs on three hits and only striking out one. Kenley Jansen then gave up a homer to Anthony Rizzo in the ninth inning, forcing the Dodgers to save him in the bottom of the ninth.
Victorino grounded: While Shane Victorino has brought leadership to the Dodgers’ clubhouse, he has yet to bring much on the field. Victorino was batting .167 (2-for-12) on the homestand and was 0-for-5 Sunday with a strikeout.
Blanton’s early impression: It wasn’t a terrible start for Joe Blanton in his Dodgers debut, but it wasn’t great either. Blanton pitched six innings, giving up five hits and two runs while striking out five. The Dodgers held a 4-2 lead heading into the top of the seventh inning when he watched the bullpen implode, giving up three runs in the inning. Blanton had a shaky start as he walked two of the first seven hitters in the Cubs lineup (he had three walks), and gave up an early run.
2dBrian Heyman, Special to ESPN.com