Thrice as nice: Dodgers hit 3 straight homers - NBC Sports

Thrice as nice: Dodgers hit 3 straight homers
Ramirez, who hit 2 HRs, joins Loney and Cruz in homer barrage to beat Braves
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The Dodgers' Hanley Ramirez follows through on his second home run of the game in the sixth inning against theÿBraves on Saturday night. In the second inning, he was part of a back-to-back-to-back homer attack with James Loney and Luis Cruz.
August 18, 2012, 11:08 pm

Hanley Ramirez says he's feeling comfortable at the plate.

The new Dodgers star is showing it on this road trip.

Ramirez drove in four runs with two homers, including the first of three straight shots by Los Angeles in the second inning Saturday night during a 6-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.

Ramirez, who was acquired in a trade with Miami on July 25, is hitting .447 (17 for 38) with three homers and 14 RBIs through nine games of the Dodgers' 10-game road trip.

"I've been telling you guys that I've been feeling good at the plate," Ramirez said. "I've been seeing the ball great I think and I've been swinging at strikes. I think that's the key."

A crowd of 42,219 attended Major League Baseball's sixth Civil Rights Game. Commissioner Bud Selig sat with Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier for players, and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who broke the color barrier for managers.

Ramirez, James Loney and Luis Cruz hit consecutive homers in a span of four pitches from Ben Sheets. Ramirez added a three-run homer in the sixth.

Dodgers starter Aaron Harang said he believes Ramirez is more relaxed with the Dodgers.

"I think the last couple years he's kind of had a lot of pressure on himself being over there," Harang said. "Now he comes over here. (Andre) Ethier and (Matt) Kemp kind of take a little pressure off him and he takes some pressure off them and he seems to be having a good time over here, having a lot of fun. He's really loose on the bench and I think he's going to be good for us down the stretch."

The four homers were the Dodgers' only hits.

"It was a weird game," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I don't know if I've ever seen that kind of a linescore, really. (Sheets) gave up four hits. They just happened to be home runs."

The Dodgers were without manager Don Mattingly, whose two-game suspension was announced before the game. He also was given an undisclosed fine "for excessive arguing" with plate umpire Angel Campos in Thursday's 10-6 loss in Pittsburgh. Bench coach Trey Hillman filled in for Mattingly.

Hillman wouldn't use Mattingly's office for his postgame interview.

"That's not an option," Hillman said. "I feel very uncomfortable being in the manager's office. ... My objective was to stay out of the way. This is Donnie's team."

And it was Ramirez's night.

"It was a really great deal for us," Hillman said.

Harang (9-7) pitched around five walks. He gave up one run on four hits with eight strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings. Sheets (4-3) lasted six innings.

Sheets set a career high for homers allowed after giving up only two in his first six games. His ERA climbed from 2.13 to 3.07. His previous high for homers allowed in a game was three six times, most recently on May 2, 2010, with Oakland.

Dodgers reliever Javy Guerra walked two batters in the eighth and was pulled with a 2-0 count to David Ross. Shawn Tolleson retired Ross but loaded the bases by walking Paul Janish with two outs.

Jansen struck out pinch-hitter Juan Francisco to end the inning. Jansen gave up Prado's homer but had three strikeouts among his four outs for his 25th save.

Michael Bourn led off the first inning with a walk and scored on Prado's double. Harang walked three batters in the inning, including an intentional pass. He struck out David Ross with the bases loaded to end the inning.

"The key for me was getting out of the first inning," Hillman said.

Sheets recorded four straight outs before giving up a homer by Ramirez to center field. Loney took a ball before hitting a fly that barely cleared the right-field wall for his fourth homer. Cruz hit the next pitch into the left-field seats.

Sheets recovered to record 13 straight outs before giving up three more runs in the third. With two outs, Sheets walked Kemp and Ethier to set up Ramirez's 18th home run.

The walks that set up the three-run homer bothered Sheets the most.

"The walks. The walks. Putting men on base," Sheets said. "Three home runs are pretty and they look good and they are runs but if I don't walk those guys it's 3-1 after six."

Ramirez also had two homers for Miami on June 2 at Philadelphia. He has 13 career two-homer games.

Notes: Selig said Jackie Robinson's courage provided "the most important and powerful moment in the history of baseball." Former Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe was honored before the game as the Beacon of Hope winner, in connection with the Civil Rights Game. Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights leader from Georgia, was honored as the Beacon of Life winner. Three founding members of Earth, Wind & Fire - Phillip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson - accepted the Beacon of Change award. ... The Dodgers hit three straight homers in a game for the first time since June 12, 2007, against the Mets. ... C Brian McCann did not start for the second straight day and revealed he has a cyst and a frayed labrum in his right shoulder. He says he can play through discomfort in the shoulder, and Gonzalez said McCann will start on Sunday. ... Braves LHP Mike Minor will face Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley in Sunday's final game of the series.

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