Published August 25, 2012
LOS ANGELES – Nathan Eovaldi received a rude welcome back to Dodger Stadium from former teammates Andre Ethier and Juan Rivera — and the player he was traded to the Miami Marlins for.
Hanley Ramirez also went deep against the 22-year-old right-hander in the Marlins' 11-4 loss on Friday night. Eovaldi hadn't allowed any over 24 innings in his five previous starts with the Marlins, and had given up only five home runs in 80 1-3 innings with the Dodgers this season.
"When you're facing a team you played with before, there's a human tendency to try to do too much and put something extra on your pitches. And suddenly, you're going the wrong way," Miami manager Ozzie Guillen said. "You have to be yourself.
"He wasn't throwing strikes. And when you're not hitting your spots you want to hit, you're not going to get good results," Guillen added. "Location is more important than anything else. His location was up, and it was up against the wrong team. They came out and swung the bats good."
Ethier was 4 for 4 with a homer and four RBIs, after going 3 for 26 with two RBIs in his previous seven games. The homer was his first at Dodger Stadium since July 14 against San Diego, and just his second at Chavez Ravine since May 14 against Arizona.
The Dodgers, coming off a three-game sweep by San Francisco that turned a half-game lead in the NL West into a 2 1/2 game deficit, entered this series three games off the pace. And for the fourth straight game, they fell behind in the first inning.
Pedersen led off with a single and the switch-hitting Jose Reyes hit his 10th home run into the lower seats in the right field corner — two pitches after Matt Kemp caught Ruggiano's drive while banging into the center field fence. It was only the second homer against Billingsley in his last 10 starts.
Ethier put Los Angeles ahead 3-2 in the bottom half with his 13th homer after a walk to Mark Ellis and a single by Kemp. The Marlins tied it in the second on groundout by Petersen that scored Donovan Solano, but Rivera regained the lead for the Dodgers in the bottom half with an opposite-field leadoff homer.
"Maybe I was a little amped up," Eovaldi said. "But it comes down to being able to execute all your pitches and attack the strike zone. The ball to Ethier was a curve ball right down the middle. I was behind in count to Juan and pretty much located the fastball down the middle. The pitch to Hanley was a fastball away, and he just took it that way."
Ramirez increased the margin to 6-3 in the third with his 20th homer and sixth with Los Angeles.
"I don't blame the kid to be pumped up and try to beat our butts. If I was him, I'd try to do that too," Guillen said. "That's the way it is. He played good against us. I'm not surprised he's playing good for them, at all. This kid is good. Obviously, when he faces us, he's going to try to turn it up another notch."
Kemp and Ethier added RBI singles against Carlos Zambrano during a five-run seventh that made it 11-4. The other three runs that inning came when Luis Cruz reached on an infield hit and circled the bases behind Kemp and Ethier on throwing errors by third baseman Greg Dobbs and right fielder Giancarlo Stanton.
Miami's Carlos Lee tried to stretch a single off the third base bag into a double in the fifth and was thrown by left fielder Shane Victorino. The next hitter was Stanton, who drove Wright's 2-2 pitch deep into the left field pavilion for his 27th homer and sixth in nine games.
Chad Billingsley, trying to win his seventh straight start, departed in the fourth with a 6-3 lead because of tenderness in his elbow.The right-hander was charged with three runs, five hits and three walks over 3 1-3 innings in his shortest outing this season after giving up a two-run homer in the first by Reyes.
Rob Brantley lined a double off the bullpen gate in right field on Billingsley's 58th and final pitch, giving the Marlins two men in scoring position with one out. Jamey Wright (5-3) inherited a 2-0 count on pinch-hitter Gorkys Hernandez, who ended up with a walk that was charged to Billingsley. But Bryan Petersen struck out and Justin Ruggiano looked at a called third strike.
"We had the bases loaded early and we didn't take advantage," Guillen said. "That's what we're doing. If we score one or two runs there, maybe we change the game."
Rivera started at first base instead of James Loney, who was pulled from manager Don Mattingly's original lineup after word spread of a proposed blockbuster eight-player trade that would send Loney to the Boston Red Sox and bring first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett and left fielder Carl Crawford to Chavez Ravine.
NOTES: Lee played his first game at Dodger Stadium since turning down a trade to Los Angeles in early July while he was still with the Astros. The Marlins acquired him just days later. ... Stanton had one hit in his previous 20 at-bats against the Dodgers before the home run. He has hit 14 of his 27 homers against NL West teams, more than any other player.