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Ramirez lifts LA to top spot

5 RBIs spur Dodgers to 7th straight victory

Manny Ramírez watches his 521st major league home run, a three-run blast in the fifth inning that spurred the Dodgers to a 7-2 triumph over Arizona. Manny Ramírez watches his 521st major league home run, a three-run blast in the fifth inning that spurred the Dodgers to a 7-2 triumph over Arizona. (REED SAXON/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
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Associated Press / September 7, 2008
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Manny Ramírez had three chances to hurt the Arizona Diamondbacks yesterday. He came through twice, and that was more than enough for the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers.

After striking out on three pitches with the bases loaded in the third inning, Ramírez hit a three-run homer and a two-run double in his next two at-bats, leading the Dodgers to a 7-2 victory over Brandon Webb (19-7) that gave them sole possession of first place in the NL West for the first time since April 4.

"He was just setting them up right there," teammate Russell Martin said with a smile. "He got them the next time around. I need to learn that."

Martin and Andre Ethier, the first two batters in Los Angeles's lineup, drew three walks each to help give Ramírez the opportunities to come through in the clutch.

"They're walking us to get to Manny," Martin deadpanned.

Chad Billingsley (14-10) took a shutout into the seventh for the Dodgers, who won their seventh straight after an eight-game skid to move a half-game ahead of Arizona entering today's finale of their three-game series.

"We got hammered two days in a row here and have lost the last four to them, so we need to respond tomorrow," said Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin, whose team has dropped nine of 12. "We'll see what we're made of tomorrow. We've been in first place for quite a while. Now it's our turn to respond and take it back."

Astros 2, Rockies 0 - Roy Oswalt threw a one-hitter and Hunter Pence hit a two-run home run to help visiting Houston win.

Oswalt (14-9) struck out six, walked two, and hit two batters. He threw 102 pitches and gave up only a leadoff single to Brad Hawpe in the fifth inning.

Yankees 7, Mariners 4 - Bobby Abreu homered and drove in three runs, Jason Giambi also connected, and visiting New York rallied for five runs in the seventh inning to beat Seattle.

The Yankees overcame four RBIs by Seattle's Raul Ibanez to move within 7 1/2 games of Boston in the AL wild-card standings.

White Sox 7, Angels 6 - Jim Thome homered (537) in the 15th inning to pass Mickey Mantle on the career list for 14th place to give host Chicago the victory and extend its AL Central lead.

Athletics 5, Orioles 1 - Jack Cust hit two solo home runs, Greg Smith (7-14) pitched seven shutout innings, and visiting Oakland handed Baltimore its eighth straight loss. The game was supposed to be the latter part of a split doubleheader, but the afternoon contest was wiped out by Tropical Storm Hanna. No makeup was announced.

Royals 3, Indians 1 - Gil Meche (11-10) struck out 10 and gave up three hits in seven innings to win for the first time in more than a month, and Kansas City beat visiting Cleveland.

Tigers 6, Twins 4 - Curtis Granderson (off Dennys Reyes) and Magglio Ordonez (off Matt Guerrier) hit two-run homers in the eighth inning as Detroit battered host Minnesota's struggling bullpen.

Cubs 14, Reds 9 - Alfonso Soriano homered three times at the top of Chicago's retooled batting order, and the first-place Cubs emerged from their longest losing streak of the season by keeping their composure and beating host Cincinnati to end a six-game slide.

Nationals 8, Braves 5 - Ryan Langerhans hit a 10th-inning homer, the Nationals' fifth of the game, and Washington recovered from blowing a two-run lead in the ninth to beat host Atlanta.

Cardinals 5, Marlins 3 - Albert Pujols hit a two-run home run and Todd Wellemeyer (12-6) pitched a season-high eight innings to help host St. Louis beat Florida.

Brewers 1, Padres 0 - Ben Sheets struck out seven and pitched a five-hitter for his career-high 13th win as host Milwaukee beat San Diego.

Giants 7, Pirates 6 - Rich Aurilia, Scott McClain, and Nate Schierholtz homered as San Francisco snapped a seven-game losing streak at home against Pittsburgh.

Remnants of Tropical Storm Hanna forced postponement of yesterday's Phillies-Mets game at Shea Stadium. Philadelphia and New York will conclude their season series with a day-night twinbill today.

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