LOS ANGELES -- As every limb on Hanley Ramirez's body was being wrapped in ice late Saturday night in the Los Angeles Dodgers' clubhouse, the team was celebrating what it hopes was another step in helping take its postseason hopes off ice.
Ramirez had just scored the winning run in the Dodgers' second walk-off win of the season, and few wins have been as sweet as Saturday's 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
One night earlier, the Phillies had snapped the Dodgers' season-best six-game winning streak with a 16-1 rout, and now Ramirez had the Dodgers right back on track with one of their more dramatic wins of the seasons.
As he sat in front of his locker, barely able to move his taped-up arms, Ramirez smiled and shook his head at the way he played in the game and the way he has played over the past 11 games.
"I think as a team we're doing pretty good," Ramirez said. "We're doing everything. We're preaching defense, and our offense is starting to come up. Where we are right now is not where we want to be, but we just got to stay together and keep playing hard."
Where the Dodgers are right now, however, is better than where they were a week ago, and Ramirez is a big reason for that. On June 21, the Dodgers were 12 games under .500, and the next day, they were 9 1/2 games out of first place.
After Saturday's win, the Dodgers are just five games out of first place, and it's no coincidence that Ramirez's 11-game hitting streak has coincided with the Dodgers' improved play. Although don't look for Ramirez to be patting himself on the back.
"I don't want to know," Ramirez said. "I just want to put this team in the best position to win every night."
Ramirez might not want to know how well he's doing, but in case you do, since June 19, Ramirez is hitting .500 (20-for-40) with five home runs, three doubles, 14 RBIs, eight runs and a stolen base. On Saturday night, he was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a stolen base. His three-run, 441-foot bomb in the first inning was the only offense the Dodgers had in the game until his game-winning score in the ninth inning.
"Hanley basically single-handedly won the game for us," said A.J. Ellis, who hit the single to right field that scored Ramirez from second with the winning run. "Offensively and defensively, he was the difference."