Reds Beat Dodgers 3-1

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Manny Ramirez looked somewhat rusty in his

first game back off the disabled list. Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto

appeared even rustier, surrendering four home runs in his first

start after serving a seven-game suspension.

Ryan Theriot, Andre Ethier, Jay Gibbons and Matt Kemp all went

deep in a span of just five batters, and the Dodgers snapped the

Reds' seven-game winning streak with an 8-5 victory Saturday night.

Ramirez was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, but led the cheers in the

dugout after each home run.

"To be honest, it really does change the dynamic of the lineup,

having a guy in there like Manny. It's contagious," Gibbons said.

"Cueto was throwing good fastballs but I think he was having

trouble with his command and we took advantage."

Chad Billingsley (10-7) allowed three runs and seven hits over 5

2-3 innings and struck out seven. The Dodgers had homered only four

times in the right-hander's previous nine starts combined, and

totaled just eight runs over his previous six outings - including

consecutive 2-0 wins over the Giants and Padres.

Jonathan Broxton, the fourth Dodgers pitcher, worked a perfect

ninth for his 22nd save in 27 chances. It was the All-Star

right-hander's first save opportunity since Aug. 12, when he blew a

9-6 lead in the ninth inning of a 10-9 lead at Philadelphia and was

temporarily removed from the closer's role by manager Joe Torre

until he worked out his difficulties.

Ramirez, coming off his third stint on the disabled list and

second because of a right calf strain, and left the game after five

innings with the Dodgers leading 7-1. The 12-time All-Star has

missed 59 games this season due to injuries, after sitting out a

50-game drug suspension last year.

The enigmatic slugger, who said at the start of spring training

that this would be his final season with the Dodgers, is in the

final year of a two-year contract and becomes a free agent at

season's end at age 38. Ramirez is 14th on the career home run list

with 554, nine shy of Reggie Jackson's total.

Pitching on 10 days rest, Cueto's rustiness was obvious in his

first start since an 11-3 loss to St. Louis on in which he was

ejected at the end of a bench-clearing melee for kicking several

Cardinals players while he was pinned against the home plate

screen. The shellshocked right-hander lasted only three innings,

allowing five runs and five hits.

It was the first time Cueto gave up more than two home runs in

any start against an NL team during his three-year career. The

Indians hit three off him on May 16, 2008, and the White Sox

matched that total on June 20, 2009.

"I was pitching relaxed and I was feeling great, but because I

missed one start, I was feeling weird in the first inning," Cueto

said through a translator. "It wasn't the same like when I was

throwing in the bullpen. I was prepared real good and my

conditioning was good. But I was feeling too strong. That's why I

was overthrowing, and I was missing my spots."

Cueto (11-4) walked three straight batters with two out in the

first. The third one to Casey Blake forced in Ethier. In the

second, Theriot drove an 0-2 pitch into the former "Mannywood"

seats down in the left field corner for his second homer of the

season and Ethier followed with his 19th to dead-center.

"He just couldn't find the strike zone. I think because of that

long layoff, he might have been overthrowing and he lost his rhythm

with his breaking ball and his changeup. Then they started hitting

the ball out of the ballpark," manager Dusty Baker said. "When

you don't have your control, you've got to throw it over the plate.

And when you throw it too fat over the plate, those guys know what

to do with it - especially guys like Ethier and Kemp. I think every

pitch they hit was a fastball."

The Dodgers, who had recorded back-to-back homers only one

previous time this season, turned the trick for the second straight

inning when Gibbons' leadoff drive to center struck the top of the

center field fence before bouncing over, and Kemp sent his

team-high 20th homer into the left field pavilion.

"Four home runs. That certainly came out of nowhere," Torre

said. "We knew it was in there somewhere."

Reds heralded rookie Mike Leake, whose role was changed to long

man out of the bullpen after going 8-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 22

starts, relieved Cueto and gave up an RBI double to Blake and a

run-scoring single by Jamey Carroll that increased the Dodgers'

lead to 7-1 in the fifth.

It was the first relief appearance in the big leagues for Leake,

who leads all NL rookies with 138 innings. The right-hander gave up

two runs and five hits over 2 1-3 innings and struck out four.

NOTES: This was the first time the Dodgers hit back-to-back

homers twice in the same game since June 29, 1996 at Colorado. ...

With Ramirez's return, the Dodgers used their 94th different

starting lineup. ... OF Scott Podsednik was not in the Dodgers'

starting lineup for the first time since he was acquired from

Kansas City on July 28 for a pair of minor league prospects.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)