LOS ANGELES (AP) - Rafael Furcal had a pinch hit RBI single in the eighth inning Wednesday, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 1-0 in the final game of Manny Ramirez's 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy.
The Dodgers were 29-21 during Ramirez's absence. The 12-time
All-Star, who needs three home runs to tie Mickey Mantle for 15th place on the career list at 536, will return to the lineup Friday night for the start of a three-game series at San Diego.
Brad Ausmus led off the eighth with a single against Rockies
starter Jason Hammel (5-4) and advanced on Juan Castro's sacrifice.
Russell Martin ran for Ausmus and scored when Furcal stroked a
single to right field on the right-hander's 100th pitch while
batting for reliever Ramon Troncoso (2-0).
Troncoso pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the win and
Jonathan Broxton pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 19th save in 20
The defending NL West champions got off to a 21-8 start and had were on a seven-game winning streak with a 6½-game lead in the division when Ramirez was suspended on May 7 for using a banned substance.
The Dodgers lost four of their next five, then went on a 12-3
run and increased their division lead to a season-best 9½ games
with a 1-0 win against Arizona on June 3 at Los Angeles. They've leveled off since then, going 13-11, But they still entered Wednesday with a six-game lead over San Francisco.
Clayton Kershaw allowed just one hit over five innings and threw
97 pitches. Kershaw struck out five and issues a season-high five
walks - the ninth time in 16 starts this season that he's given up
at least four bases on balls. In his last 12 outings, however, his
ERA is only 2.29.
Casey Blake pinch hit for Kershaw in the bottom of the fifth
with runners at the corners, but struck out after James Loney
doubled with one out for the Dodgers' first hit and was held at
third by coach Larry Bowa on Ausmus' line-drive single to center
fielder Dexter Fowler.
Brad Hawpe's two-out double in the first inning was Colorado's
only hit until Ian Stewart doubled with two outs in the seventh
against Ronald Belisario. Paul Phillips was intentionally walked to bring up Hammel, whose bid for a tiebreaking RBI double was caught by right fielder Andre Ethier at the edge of the warning track in right-center after a long run.
Hammel pitched a career-high eight innings for his first complete game in the majors. It came in his 41st big league start and first against the Dodgers. He allowed five hits and struck out five.
Juan Pierre, who has started every game in left field during
Manny's absence, will return to being a part-time player despite
hitting .318 with 21 RBIs, 31 runs scored, 15 walks and 21 stolen
bases. Pierre caught the last out Wednesday.