Hits keep raining down in Dodgers' win

Hits keep raining down in Dodgers' win

CINCINNATI -- Long into the night, or rather, early into the morning, the hits kept coming, the defense kept coming and the pitching kept coming.

A two-hour, 24-minute rain delay would do nothing to calm the Dodgers down in all facets of the game. If anything, it breathed life into a lineup that had gone quiet for three innings as storms approached Great American Ball Park.

Manny Ramirez hit an RBI single on the first pitch after the delay, setting a trend for the rest of the night. Nearly five hours after Tuesday's game started, and well after the stroke of midnight in Cincinnati, the Dodgers had racked up 19 hits and beat the Reds, 12-0, and shortstop Rafael Furcal tied a career high with five hits and made highlight-reel defensive plays in taking the spotlight.

"That was the star of the game tonight," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of Furcal. "He did everything except sell tickets tonight."

The Dodgers started off hot, as Furcal doubled to lead off and four of the game's first five batters reached base, including RBI hits by Ramirez and James Loney.

"It's warm out there, and I didn't feel like I could get into a rhythm," Reds starting pitcher Aaron Harang said. "I'd get two strikes on them, and I couldn't find that pitch to put them away. When you throw a lot of pitches in the first inning, it's going to wear on you, especially when it's as warm and muggy as it was."

But after eight batters stepped to the plate in the first, a total of just 10 would bat in the next three innings.

Furcal and Andre Ethier would single in the top of the fifth, then the rain came. The Dodgers waited it out, then quickly went to work jumping all over a helpless Reds bullpen.

Out of the 19 hits, nearly half came from Furcal and first baseman Loney. Batting leadoff, Furcal set the table inning after inning, going 5-for-6 with a double, two runs and two RBIs. Batting fifth, Loney went 4-for-5 with three doubles and two RBIs.

"I try to get as many hits as I can, it's no matter how they're getting earned," Furcal said. "When the game's like that, you've gotta take advantage of it."

Then there was Ramirez, going 3-for-4 with a two-run homer in the seventh. The hits came from all over the lineup, and they seemed to never stop.

But Furcal didn't hold back on defense either. After the Dodgers broke the game open in the fifth, Furcal helped frustrate the Reds' offense in the sixth. He recorded all three outs in the field, two showing impressive range to his right on ground balls, and the third coming on a shallow popup down the left-field line.

Furcal passed his defense off as routine plays, but the two put-outs to first base were anything but ordinary. Even after the long delay, and even with a comfortable lead, Furcal came out and played like the game was just getting under way.

"You've gotta prepare like you're starting again," Furcal said of the end of the delay. "When you take a chance, that's when you get hurt."

Although Harang did not return after the rain delay, Los Angeles starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda worked on both sides. He threw four scoreless innings of one-hit ball before the delay, and though the Reds loaded the bases in the fifth after the rain, Kuroda settled down and escaped the jam.

"He was very animated in wanting to give it a shot," Torre said. "So we felt he was entitled to do it. You watch him warm up, and if it doesn't look good, you don't send him out there."

Kuroda left after five innings and picked up his first win since May 18 to move to 6-4 for the season.

Although Kuroda stood out for returning after such a long delay, the rest of the Dodgers made sure to back him up with their bats and their gloves. A little rain wasn't going to stop the Dodgers from bouncing back from a sweep at the hands of the Angels.

For Furcal in particular, the rain delay did nothing except provide an intermission in his return to form.

"I know that first week and a half coming off the DL was a little tough for me, I tried to find out where my timing was at," Furcal said. "Right now is like the way I was feeling when I started the season."

Matt Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.