Even quiet Ramirez changes LA lineup

Even quiet Ramirez changes LA lineup

SAN FRANCISCO -- Manny Ramirez went 0-for-5 Friday night, and in a strange sort of way, it was good news for the Dodgers.

Because they won anyway. And they scored six runs without a hit from Ramirez, who had homered in four of the previous six games.

But manager Joe Torre is convinced that Ramirez's presence in the lineup, even when it doesn't show up on his line of the box score, is still showing up in the box score by his impact on other hitters in the lineup.

"When the other club has its meeting before the series starts and they tell the pitchers they can't let this guy [Ramirez] beat you, well, Jeff Kent has also been that kind of hitter his whole life. They have to pitch to somebody."

Barry Zito had no choice with the bases loaded but pitch to Kent, who cleared the bases with a double, and Torre said he will continue his latest experiment of batting Kent ahead of Ramirez when the Dodgers and Giants resume the series Saturday night.

"With Manny in the lineup, he improves a number of hitters. You can just feel more confidence from everybody in the lineup," said Danny Ardoin, who slugged his first homer in three seasons.

Torre, however, wasn't sure what he would do with Russell Martin, who went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a walk in the 2-hole Friday night. It's hard to say a hitter is slumping with a seven-game hitting streak, which is what Martin had entering the game, but he's had only two extra-base hits since hitting his last home run on July 10.

"Sometimes he gets too ambitious, too big in the swing," Torre said.

Torre said Andruw Jones, who was 0-for-3 with a walk Friday night starting in center field, probably would not start Saturday night when the Giants pitch right-hander Kevin Correia, even though Jones is 4-for-9 with three homers lifetime against Correia. Torre has attractive choices in Andre Ethier (3-for-7 against Correia) or Juan Pierre (7-for-16).

Pitching matchup
LAD: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (6-8, 4.21 ERA)
Kuroda rebounded after three consecutive poor starts coming out of the All-Star break to beat the Diamondbacks, although it didn't hurt to have the buzz of Ramirez's first game as a Dodger for inspiration. Still, he allowed only one run on four hits in 7 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and no walks. He was able to finish off breaking balls, which was a problem in the three previous starts.

SF: RHP Kevin Correia (2-6, 5.53 ERA)
Correia was solid in his last outing against the Padres on Sunday, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing two runs on three hits with four walks and two strikeouts but ending up with a loss. The walks came back to bite him, as two of his walks were in a second inning that saw the Padres cross their first run across the plate. Two more walks loaded the bases for the Padres' second run of the game and the last run against Correia. Minus the walks, the game might have been different, as he continued to hold his own in a matchup that put him up against future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.

Casey Blake hit his second homer as a Dodger leading off the sixth inning Friday. ... Dodgers area scout Lon Joyce was inducted into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame. Joyce was one of 12 scouts inducted into the inaugural PBSHOF, which is sponsored by the Topps Company Inc.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

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Up next
• Sunday: Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 11-9, 3.01) at Giants (Matt Cain, 7-9, 3.60), 1:05 p.m. PT
• Monday: Dodgers (Derek Lowe, 8-10, 4.10) vs. Phillies (Kyle Kendrick, 10-5, 4.37), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Tuesday: Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 2-3, 3.71) vs. Phillies (Cole Hamels, 9-8, 3.35), 7:10 p.m. PT

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