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Manny passes Schmidt on all-time HR list

Manny passes Schmidt on all-time HR list

DENVER -- Manny Ramirez held true to his latest incarnation Friday night, vanishing from the clubhouse after the game before reporters entered to ask questions he would not answer.

Different about Ramirez Friday night was that he wasn't the singles hitter he'd seemingly become this year, as he blasted a two-run homer that keyed a four-run sixth inning and capped the Dodgers' 5-4 comeback win over the Rockies.

The historical significance: Ramirez broke a tie with Mike Schmidt for 14th place on the all-time home run list at 549 and moved into a tie for 18th place with Frank Robinson on the all-time RBI list with 1,812.

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The immediate significance: It was Ramirez's third home run of the season and first since April 18. Ramirez came into the game hitting .213 since returning from the disabled list on May 8 after suffering a strained right calf.

Now that Ramirez no longer jokes -- or even acknowledges -- reporters, it's entirely up to others to speak for him.

Manager Joe Torre said he's fine with a Ramirez that doesn't hit homers as long as he drives in runs.

"He's hit a lot of balls on the nose, he just hasn't hit them in the air," said Torre. "I think he'll hit a number of home runs. Thirty? No. I think around 20 homers."

And Torre is fine with a lower-profile Ramirez, compared to the larger-than-life, life-of-the-party focal point he had become.

"I don't think he's the same as when he first came on board," Torre said of Ramirez, who took the town by storm when he arrived in 2008. "He did a lot of joking around. He's still comfortable but not as animated as when he first got here. Last year was very tough for him, and he came back just swinging out of his shoes. He made up his mind to just straighten his swing out and come in and play baseball.

"Does he act differently? No, I thought he was over the top when he got here. Everything was bells and whistles. It's comfortable the way it is. He's not sullen, not moping around. He's still upbeat. When he first came here, he was all over the joint."

The home run off Jeff Francis to right-center was Ramirez's first at Coors Field.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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