Ramírez ejected but sparks Dodgers
NEW YORK - For someone just back, Manny Ramírez made quite an exit.
After looking at another strike three, the Dodgers star dropped his bat, tossed his helmet, and flung his elbow pad last night. Booed for much of the game against the New York Mets, Ramírez then heard his departure cue from plate umpire John Hirschbeck.
Ramírez was ejected as he walked toward the outfield for the bottom of the fifth inning. By that point, he’d done enough damage, driving in three runs as Los Angeles won, 8-0.
“I didn’t want to throw even more fire. I just walked away,’’ he said. “I only play five innings, so I was leaving anyway.’’
Such an abrupt end to what began as a jovial evening for the formerly suspended slugger.
Hours before game time, Ramírez walked into the clubhouse, spotted the waiting flock and broke into a familiar grin.
“Whoa. Whoa,’’ the Dodgers’ main man said. “Most wanted.’’
Far from his fans in Southern California, Ramírez received a less-than-sunny reception in his first at-bat. That said, the flailing Mets drew a much harsher reaction from the crowd at Citi Field.
“The fans have been great to me, especially in LA, so what can I say? I’m just blessed, wherever I go,’’ he said.
Booed for about 20 seconds when he came up, Ramírez took a 3-2 pitch from Mike Pelfrey, chucked his bat aside and began heading toward first base. Not so fast, it was strike three.
Ramírez spun around and argued for a moment, to the crowd’s delight, and kept barking from the dugout.
The affable Ramírez came up the next inning, met Hirschbeck with a smile and spread his hands about a foot apart - it looked like an indication the disputed pitch missed the plate. But the crew chief said Ramírez told him it was indeed strike three.
“I said, ‘thanks, I appreciate it,’ ’’ Hirschbeck said.
Up with the bases loaded and two outs, Ramírez shattered his bat with two-run single, and added an RBI single his next time up.
But in the fifth, Ramírez wasn’t so jolly after striking out with the bases loaded. He was halfway through the infield when Hirschbeck inspected what Ramírez had thrown.
“I didn’t have a problem with the bat and the helmet. The elbow pad, tossing it in the air, that’s a bit far,’’ Hirschbeck said.
“The first one, it was a strike. But the last one, it was a ball,’’ Ramírez said.
As for the rest of the action, Clayton Kershaw (6-5) combined with three relievers to hold the Mets to four hits and pinch hitter Blake DeWitt hit a seventh-inning homer off Tim Redding that hit off the front of the second deck in left field and Los Angeles twice scored on bases-loaded walks.