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Dodgers roll with MLB season-high 25 hits

June 27, 2011 Comments off

MINNEAPOLIS — Even an hour after Monday’s game, the Dodgers kept collecting hits.

With a season-high 25 hits and 15 runs, the Dodgers broke out the bats in a big way on Monday against the Twins, cruising to a 15-0 victory at Target Field. But with the way Chad Billingsley dominated on the mound, one of each would have sufficed.

“It’s just one of those days,” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. “Everything went right from the beginning and kept going tonight. A lot of times you’ll see it start and kind of stop, but it just kind of kept going tonight.”

The 25 hits were the most by any team in the Majors this season, and matched a club record for the Dodgers, who last reached the mark on May 19, 2006, against the Angels.

Tony Gwynn, one of four Dodgers with three or more hits, got things started, leading off the game with a single and scoring two batters later as Andre Ethier reached on a throwing error by shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Ethier also scored as Matt Kemp followed with a double to the gap in right.

The Dodgers added a run in the third, two in the fourth, three in the fifth, two in the sixth, two more in the seventh, and three for good measure in the eighth inning. For the first time in Los Angeles Dodgers history, every player in the lineup had at least one hit, one run and one RBI.

“Really?” Gwynn asked when told of that stat. “I told you, it was one of those games that guys swung the bat well, got into good counts. … Matt and Andre do what they always do and they had a good supporting cast today.”

After the game, a fielding error in the fourth by Nishioka was ruled a hit for Ethier, giving the Dodgers their 25th hit. It set a new club record for hits allowed by the Twins in a nine-inning game.

Kemp had four hits in five at-bats, including his National League-leading 22nd home run of the season in the seventh off lefty Phil Dumatrait, a 444-foot blast off the batter’s eye in center field. He also scored twice and drove in a pair.

“You wish you could have more days like that,” Kemp said. “Hopefully that’s the start of something good.”

Former Twins player Casey Blake also homered in the seventh, his fourth of the year, and ex-Minnesota prospect Trent Oeltjen hit his first home run of the season in the fourth. It was the fourth time this season the Dodgers had hit three home runs in a game, and the first since June 11 at Colorado.

Oeltjen also had four hits, including a triple in the eighth, finishing a double shy of the cycle. In his final at-bat, Oeltjen hit a single to right field, giving a long look at going to second before deciding against it.

“All the boys were talking to me before I went up there, ‘Hey, you know you need a double,'” Oeltjen said. “But I hit it right at him.”

Would his manager have been upset if Oeltjen took a shot at stretching it into a double with a 15-0 lead in the top of the ninth?

“Yeah, I would’ve been, because he’d have gotten thrown out by like 20 feet and it would’ve looked really bad,” Mattingly said. “It’s one of those games, you don’t really want to embarrass the other team. You feel good about it, but you’ve been on the other side.”

Billingsley kept the Twins off-balance all night, giving up just four hits in six shutout innings. The right-hander also struck out four batters while walking two in his seventh win of the season.

When the Twins did get hits in the game, the Dodgers’ defense backed up Billingsley with a few strong plays. They turned double plays in the third and the sixth, and Dee Gordon threw out Alexi Casilla at the plate on a strong relay throw after Joe Mauer doubled to left.

Even with all the offense, Gordon and Gwynn seemed most excited about their defense.

“I was pumped on that one — it’s not a lot of times you’re going to be able to get assists off those types of plays,” Gwynn said. “They only had the camera on him, but I was yelling, he was yelling … that’s the kind of stuff we worked on during spring and we’ve been pretty good at it all year.”

Twins starter Nick Blackburn got hit around for eight runs (seven earned) on 13 hits over 4 1/3 innings with one walk and one strikeout.

The Dodgers jumped all over Blackburn early in the count, with 11 of the 13 hits coming on the first or second pitch of the at-bat.

“I don’t think we really need to talk a whole lot about this one. We got murdered,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “Everything we threw up there, pretty much from the beginning, found holes and were hits. There were a lot of runs across.”

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

Dodgers beat 8/24

August 24, 2010 Comments off

Dodgers not affect by Manny rumors

MILWAUKEE — As far as his manager is concerned, the rumors swirling about a potential trade involving Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez is no different now than a month ago.

“I don’t think it’s anything different than [what] goes on in July with all the rumors that fly around in July about trade possibilities,” Joe Torre said. “I don’t see any concern.”

It’s been speculated that, barring any significant Dodgers winning streak, Ramirez could be placed on waivers sometime this week.

Among the teams that expressed interest in acquiring Ramirez before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline were the White Sox and Rays. To be traded by the end of this month, Ramirez would first need to clear waivers.

If placed on waivers, Ramirez could go to a team that claims him, he could be traded to that team, or he could be pulled back by the Dodgers and remain with the club through the end of the 2010 season.

Despite all the interest in Ramirez’s potential departure from Los Angeles this week, Torre expressed little concern over the effect on Ramirez.

“In this game, because it is the game of baseball, you’re really bred to deal with distractions,” Torre said. “That’s our job. I don’t see it affecting anything at this point.”

Barajas in lineup on first day with Dodgers

MILWAUKEE — Newly-acquired catcher Rod Barajas joined the Dodgers in Milwaukee on Tuesday. On his first day with the club, Barajas was inserted into the starting lineup right away by manager Joe Torre.

The Dodgers claimed Barajas off waivers over the weekend, sending cash to the Mets in exchange for the veteran catcher. With Russell Martin out for the season due to a hip injury, Barajas fills the Dodgers’ void behind the plate.

Before acquiring Barajas, the Dodgers had used Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis at catcher. Upon acquiring Barajas, Ellis was optioned to the Minors. While he likes Barajas’ ability behind the plate as well, Torre especially likes the additional offense he can provide at catcher.

“Offensively, he gives us a little more,” Torre said. “Obviously, I’ve been very satisfied with the defensive side of the game with our catchers. But we’ve sort of been limited, even though we’ve had some contributions offensively. We’ve been lacking a little bit.

“The fact that he is a threat to hit the ball out of the ballpark gives us a little bit different dimension there.”

Barajas is hitting .225 on the season with 12 home runs and a .677 OPS, which is far better than the .492 OPS for Ausmus and Ellis’ .440 mark.

Torre said he remained unsure of how he would use Barajas and Ausmus, but he wanted to see what the Dodgers had in Barajas before making a decision.

“I don’t know yet, we’ll play him [Tuesday],” Torre said. “My guess is he’ll get a good portion of the playing time, and we’ll give Ausmus a couple games a week.

“I could make more decisions after watching him.”

Billingsley pushed back to Saturday

MILWAUKEE — With Chad Billingsley still feeling the effects of a minor calf injury, Dodgers manager Joe Torre shook up his starting rotation a bit once again on Tuesday.

Billingsley has been bumped back to start Saturday night in Colorado, while rookie right-hander Carlos Monasterios will get the nod for Thursday’s series finale at Miller Park.

“He probably could’ve pitched Thursday,” Torre said of Billingsley. “But with the fact that we needed a fifth starter Saturday, we figured we’d rather give him the extra couple days.”

Covering first base on a grounder on Saturday in the second inning, Billingsley said he “kind of tweaked” his calf, but was unaffected by the injury.

According to Torre, the calf bothers Billingsley more off the mound than on it.

“It may not make a difference,” Torre said of the extra time off. “But if it’s going to be a plus for him, then so be it. As long as we needed the fifth starter one place or the other, we just decided to give him the extra days off.”

Torre attends Selig ceremony Tuesday

MILWAUKEE — With the Brewers having honored Allan H. “Bud” Selig with a ceremony earlier in the afternoon, Dodgers manager Joe Torre took some time before Tuesday’s game to reflect on his relationship with the Commissioner.

Torre, who attended the ceremony with his brother, Frank, and a long list of local and national dignitaries, had nothing but positive things to say about Selig and the ceremony honoring the man who he first met during his playing days with the Milwaukee Braves.

“I was very touched by the whole thing because I’ve known Bud so long, since like ’56,” Torre said. “He sold me my first car.”

When Torre broke into the big leagues with Milwaukee in 1960, Selig was working with his father for a car leasing business at the time. But Selig’s true passion was baseball, and he was the team’s largest public stockholder before the Braves left Milwaukee in 1965.

While they shared their time in Milwaukee, Torre and Selig formed a lasting friendship.

“I’ve known Bud for a long time and the one thing that’s been consistent with him, whether you agree with him or don’t agree with him, he’s never lost his excitement for the game and his passion to do the right thing,” Torre said.

“It’s tough to not get emotional when you see how long he’s been doing this, and they wouldn’t have anything like this unless it was for him, because this ballclub left in ’65 and it looked very bleak for this city.”

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