Dodgers Handle the Padres

The Los Angeles Dodgers kept their perfect home record intact despite another unsettling bout of wildness by rookie pitcher James McDonald.

Manny Ramirez followed Orlando Hudson's two-run homer with a long ball of his own, and the Dodgers scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning on catcher Nick Hundley's error to beat the San Diego Padres 8-5 on Thursday night.

The Dodgers improved to 7-0 at Chavez Ravine in the opener of an 11-game homestand. It's their best start at home since 1947, when the Brooklyn Dodgers started out 8-0 at Ebbets Field in Jackie Robinson's rookie year.

McDonald retired only four of his first 10 batters in his fourth major league start -- allowing three runs, two hits and four walks. Altogether, he has walked 14 batters in 14 1-3 innings.

"The only thing I can do is just remind him about the good stuff he's done here," said manager Joe Torre, who got six scoreless inning out of him after his September callup and another 5 1-3 shutout innings in the NLCS. "We're going to try to figure something out where James will be in a position where he can help us."

With Los Angeles leading 1-0, McDonald walked three in a row in the second inning to force in the tying run after Adrian Gonzalez led off with a single that extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Another run scored on Luis Rodriguez's double-play grounder before Josh Geer's RBI single made it 3-1.

"There's no excuse. I should be throwing strikes," the 24-year-old rookie said. "I should be giving my team a solid outing. You have to put this one behind you and think about what you need to do to be successful and take this as a challenge."

Jeff Weaver made 59 pitches over four scoreless innings of relief, allowing four hits and striking out four in his return to the Dodgers after a three-year absence. The right-hander left the game in the sixth with a 4-3 lead, but the Padres pulled ahead when Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI double and scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Kevin Kouzmanoff.

"The adrenaline was pumping and it was nice to get my feet wet again," Weaver said. "Once I got the first hitter out of the way, I felt good. When I got here, they just said throw it in there and let the defense make plays. And they sure did that tonight."

Padres starter Josh Geer allowed four runs, seven hits and no walks over six innings and struck out four in his seventh big league start. He also had two hits, including an RBI single, and left with a 5-4 lead before the Dodgers rallied with two runs in the seventh.

Luke Gregerson (0-1) gave up singles to his first three batters, including Mark Loretta, whose tying RBI single gave him seven hits in 10 at-bats as a pinch-hitter this season.

"He knows how to hit, which is the most important thing -- and it's not always pretty," Torre said. "You don't know how it's going to get done, but you sort of put him up there and trust his ability. He did it against me when he was with the Red Sox and was a regular player."

One out later, Hudson singled and Casey Blake was held up at third base by coach Larry Bowa. But when the two-hop throw from right fielder Brian Giles skipped past Hundley -- and Gregerson backing up the play -- Blake came home with the go-ahead run.

Ronald Belisario (1-2) earned his first major league victory with an inning of one-hit relief. Jonathan Broxton got his seventh save in eight attempts, striking out three after a leadoff walk.

Hudson tied it at 3 in the third with his third homer of the season after a double by Rafael Furcal. Three pitches later, Ramirez hit his fifth homer and 532nd of his career, two behind Jimmie Foxx for 16th place.

"Josh had a rough third inning when they got the two home runs, but he didn't back down," Padres manager Bud Black said. "The guy keeps battling, throws strikes and pitches his game. And he had a chance to be the winning pitcher." 

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