Hanley Ramirez not only put it to the Marlins. He stuck it to the very pitcher the Dodgers gave up to land him in last month’s trade.
Ramirez cranked a two-run homer off Nathan Eovaldi as the Dodgers won 11-4 on Friday at Dodger Stadium. The much-maligned shortstop — that’s correct, the Dodgers have returned him to his old infield spot — has driven in 31 runs in 28 games since the July 25 deal.
Okay, he also struck out twice and grounded into a double play.
But, in four games against his former team, Ramirez has gone 7 for 17 (.417) and driven in seven runs. All told, he is doing for the Dodgers what he failed to do with the Marlins the past two seasons: rock at the plate. He also went high in the air to snare Bryan Petersen's line drive in the ninth and rob him of a hit.
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His blast to right, which gave the Dodgers a 6-3 lead in the third, all but sealed Eovaldi’s fate Friday as the 22-year-old right-hander did not return for the fourth.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said it wouldn't surprise him if Ramirez was especially motivated against the Marlins.
"I don't blame the kid to be pumped up and try to kick our butts," Guillen said. "If I was him, I would try to do that, too. He played good against us, and I'm not surprised he's playing good for them at all. Obviously when he faces us, he's going to (take it up) an extra notch to play better."
Ramirez was hardly the only Dodger to ruin the pitcher’s L.A. homecoming.
After Jose Reyes’ two-run homer handed Eovaldi a lead before he ever stepped foot on the mound, it evaporated the instant Andre Ethier hit a three-run homer in the first. Juan Rivera homered to lead off the second for the Dodgers.
Then came Ramirez, who hit his 20th of the season — and sixth for L.A.
In his six starts since joining the Marlins, Eovaldi has provided mixed results with a 3-3 record and 5.33 ERA. But Friday’s three home runs by the Dodgers were the first allowed by Eovaldi with his new team.
"The ball to Ethier, a curveball right down the middle," Eovaldi said. "On a 3-1 count (to Rivera), pretty much a fastball down the middle. The only ball I felt I located was the ball to Hanley — fastball away, and he just took it the other way. Got to give him credit."
Giancarlo Stanton, who is from nearby Sherman Oaks and was playing in front of 50 friends and family, launched his 27th home run of the season, a towering solo shot in the fifth off Dodgers reliever Jamey Wright, who had taken over on the mound when Billingsley left in the fourth with a tender elbow.
The home run was the 83rd of his career, tying him with Ted Williams for the 11th-most home runs hit before the age of 23. Next on the list: Mickey Mantle and Andruw Jones, each of whom hit 84 homers before their 23rd birthdays. The all-time record belongs to Mel Ott, who hit 115 out before turning 23. Stanton will be 23 on Nov. 8.
But Stanton also cost his team a run with a fielding miscue on a double-blunder play by the Marlins. The Dodgers were already comfortably ahead in the seventh when Luis Cruz tapped a grounder toward third. Greg Dobbs barehanded the ball, but his throw was off target and bounced past first baseman Carlos Lee, allowing two runs to score. Stanton, backing up on the play, then compounded the mistake by throwing wildly to third in an attempt to get Cruz. Cruz not only reached third, but was also awarded an extra base, thereby circling the bases on a ball that traveled no further than 40 feet.