Dodgers make it two in a row, 5-4

On a night that the Dodgers’ National League West wild-card rivals each took leads after being down by nine runs, the Dodgers had a more modest rally task: a two-run deficit.

But you don’t get points for difficulty in baseball – just for wins. Los Angeles scored three in the fifth and one in the sixth, then held on for a 5-4 victory over Milwaukee. The Dodgers closed within 5 1/2 games of the wild-card co-leaders Philadelphia (which took a loss to Houston with Roy Halladay on the mound) and San Francisco (which trailed 10-1, led 11-10 and lost 12-11 in 12 innings).

Manny Ramirez had two doubles and two walks on waiver day, driving in one run and scoring another (as well as being thrown out at home when inexplicably sent around the bases by Larry Bowa). He might have made himself more attractive to other teams; he might have made himself more attractive to the Dodgers. Bottom line: Tonight might at least stop this from being a complete Ramirez giveaway with nothing in return.

Andre Ethier had a solo homer, and James Loney, Casey Blake and Ryan Theriot each had two hits. The latter three and Ramirez combined for six doubles.

Hiroki Kuroda allowed four runs on seven baserunners in seven innings, striking out seven, before Jonathan Broxton pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. Joe Torre played matchups to the hilt in the ninth inning, using Ronald Belsiario, George Sherrill and Octavio Dotel to each get an out. It was suspenseful and a bit harrowing (the last two outs required running plays by Jamey Carroll and Matt Kemp), but it succeeded.

Dotel has a sparkly necklace, almost like something a kid might wear in the crowd during a fireworks show. Maybe it looks different on the field, but I’m surprised he’s allowed to pitch with it.

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