Published August 18, 2012
ATLANTA – Ben Sheets was more upset about walking two batters than setting a career high by allowing four homers.
Sheets gave up three straight homers in the second inning, including one by Hanley Ramirez, and Ramirez added a three-run shot in the sixth to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 6-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.
Sheets (4-3) gave up only two homers in his first six games in his comeback season with Atlanta.
He walked two batters to set up the three-run homer by Ramirez.
"The solo home runs I can deal with," Sheets said. "The two walks in the sixth inning pisses me off, to be nice about it."
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. We didn't help him."
Atlanta, which had its four-game winning streak stopped, had five hits — all for extra bases. Martin Prado doubled and then homered off closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth.
Ramirez, James Loney and Luis Cruz hit consecutive homers in a span of four pitches from Sheets in the second inning.
Sheets gave up six runs on four hits and two walks in six innings as 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.
Sheets said the Braves could have stayed closer if not for his walks.
"The walks. The walks. Putting men on base," he 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, 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.
Dodgers winning pitcher 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 of Ramirez with Miami. "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 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.
Harang (9-7) pitched around five walks. He gave up one run on four hits with eight strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings.
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.
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.