Xavier Paul hit his first major league homer, Juan Pierre hiked his average to .391, and the Los Angeles Dodgers won again without Manny Ramirez.Buoyed by a brief reunion with their suspended slugger, the Dodgers beat the slumping Florida Marlins 6-4 Friday night.
Los Angeles' third consecutive victory came hours after Ramirez apologized to his teammates at the team hotel. It was his first time with the Dodgers since being suspended for 50 games for using a banned substance.
"It was just something I felt Manny needed to do," manager Joe Torre said. "He did, too, but he wasn't emotionally ready until today. And he had a tough time today. ... I think there was a little uneasiness on both sides."
The meeting was brief, and Ramirez was not at the ballpark. Torre described the meeting as conversational and that everyone "was in pretty good spirits," especially after Ramirez went around the room for handshakes and hugs.
"He's a happy-go-lucky guy, so we weren't expecting a big speech," Pierre said. "But just seeing him felt good. It was good for the team."
Pierre, Ramirez's replacement in left field, hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the seventh inning, and the Dodgers rallied from a three-run deficit. They upped the best record in the majors to 25-12, and improved to 4-4 without Ramirez.
"We're not as powerful without him," Torre said. "But we still have a pretty good lineup."
The Marlins lost their fifth straight game and are 6-18 since starting the season 11-1. Their frustration showed in the eighth inning, when manager Fredi Gonzalez and second baseman Dan Uggla were ejected.
"We can't blame umpires, we can't blame anybody," outfielder Cody Ross said. "We just have to blame ourselves."
With the score 3-all, James Loney led off the Dodgers' seventh with a single. Kiko Calero came on and walked Matt Kemp and pinch-hitter Mark Loretta to load the bases, and Pierre singled.
Pierre also scored a run and finished 2 for 4 to hike his average to .391.
"I just do what I know I can do and keep it in my elements," Pierre said. "Right now I'm finding some holes. It feels good to contribute and help the team win."
Casey Blake and pinch-hitter Paul hit back-to-back homers for Los Angeles in the sixth.
"We know how tough it is going to be without Manny," Paul said. "And we're up for the challenge."
Jonathan Broxton walked two in the ninth but retired pinch-hitter Russ Gload on a flyout with runners at second and third for his ninth save in 11 chances.
Jeff Weaver (2-0) pitched a scoreless sixth, and Marlins starter Chris Volstad (2-3) lost his third start in a row. Volstad took a one-hitter into the sixth but retired only three more batters and gave up four runs, two on homers.
The Dodgers retained the biggest division lead of any first-place team, and in 42 games Ramirez will be back. He's expected to resume workouts in the coming days, and players said he promised he would be ready to play when the suspension ends.
"We know he's a Hall of Fame-type player," Pierre said. "We're just trying to play good ball while he's out, and hopefully when he comes back we'll continue with the winning ways."
Braves 4, Diamondbacks 3
Yunel Escobar hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the bottom of ninth for Atlanta, which blew a lead in the top of the inning.
With one out in the ninth, Jordan Schafer singled off Tony Pena (3-1). Pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson walked and Omar Infante singled. Schafer, who hesitated between second and third to see if center fielder Chris Young would catch the ball, had to hold at third.
Escobar's fly to center allowed Schafer to score the winning run from third.
Braves closer Mike Gonzalez (2-0) gave up a tying homer to Stephen Drew to lead off the ninth.
Rockies 3, Pirates 1
At Pittsburgh, Brad Hawpe's two-run homer was part of Colorado's three-run ninth inning.
Hawpe homered off Matt Capps (0-3), scoring Ian Stewart, who led off with a pinch-hit double. It was Hawpe's sixth homer and it gave him 11 RBIs in his last five games.
Alan Embree (1-1) earned the win with a scoreless eighth, and Huston Street struck out the side in the ninth for his fifth save.
Pittsburgh has lost 10 of its last 12 and 14 of 17.
Phillies 10, Nationals 6, 12 innings
Raul Ibanez's fourth hit of the game was a two-run single in the top of the 12th for Philadelphia.
Kip Wells (0-1), Washington's eighth pitcher, walked the bases loaded in the 12th and Ibanez broke a 6-all tie. The visiting Phillies added two more runs on Pedro Feliz's RBI double his fourth hit and catcher Wil Nieves' throwing error on a double steal.
J.A. Happ (2-0), Philadelphia's seventh pitcher, got the win by getting the final six outs. Ryan Howard hit a three-run homer.
Padres 5, Reds 3
Adrian Gonzalez homered in his fifth straight game and Scott Hairston drove in the go-ahead run in a three-run seventh inning as San Diego snapped a six-game losing streak.
Gonzalez hit a solo shot in the first off Aaron Harang (3-4), his major league-leading 15th homer. He has six homers in his five-game streak.
Joey Votto homered for the visiting Reds.
Kevin Correia (1-2) allowed three runs and five hits over seven innings. Heath Bell picked up his ninth save.
Mets 8, Giants 6
Gary Sheffield scored the go-ahead run on closer Brian Wilson's throwing error in the ninth inning, and visiting New York rallied from an early four-run deficit for its 10th victory in 12 games.
The Mets' David Wright had three hits and four RBIs, three on a tying double in the seventh inning.
Wilson (2-2) took the loss against the Mets for the second straight day.
Brian Stokes (1-1) pitched the eighth for New York, and Francisco Rodriguez finished for his 11th save.