LOS ANGELES – Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers were tired of getting brushed back in the NL championship series, so they came out ready to fight back against Philadelphia.
Blake DeWitt's bases-loaded triple off Jamie Moyer capped a five-run first inning, and the feisty Dodgers beat the Phillies 7-2 in a testy game Sunday night to trim Philadelphia's lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
The benches and bullpens emptied in the third inning, moments after Los Angeles starter Hiroki Kuroda threw a pitch over Shane Victorino's head, with an angry Ramirez barking at the Phillies during the fracas.
But there were no punches or ejections, and the Dodgers played with poise all night.
"We just want to play the game right," Ramirez said. "We're a team and we need to protect each other. I wasn't trying to get anybody. I was there just in case anything happened. I just wanted to go out there and protect my teammates. I don't fight nobody. I'm a lover."
Kuroda pitched effectively into the seventh for the Dodgers, who will try to even the series Monday night. Game 1 loser Derek Lowe, working on three days' rest, will face Philadelphia's Joe Blanton.
"We're not back yet," Ramirez said. "They won two games, we've got one. The game tomorrow is going to be real important, so that's the game that counts."
Kuroda buzzed Victorino in an apparent attempt to retaliate for Brett Myers throwing behind Ramirez in Game 2. Plate umpire Mike Everitt immediately warned both teams, and Victorino shouted at Kuroda while pointing at his own head and upper body.
"Someone was bound to get hit. The situation called for it," Victorino explained. "Just don't throw at my head."
Victorino grounded out to first baseman Nomar Garciaparra, then exchanged words with Kuroda near the bag. Both dugouts cleared and the bullpens followed.
Kuroda said afterward through a translator that he tried to throw inside, but the ball slipped out of his hand.
Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa and Phillies first base coach Davey Lopes appeared to be two of the angriest participants in the near-scuffle, yelling at each other before the teams cleared the field. Ramirez also came in from left field and had to be restrained by teammates, manager Joe Torre and an umpire.
"The ball just got a little bit away from Kuroda," Dodgers catcher Russell Martin said. "The last thing we're trying to do is hit somebody in the head. We were just trying to get him uncomfortable up there a little bit.
"Those guys have been swinging the bats pretty well. It's just baseball. They've been throwing up and tight on us, and it got us a little uncomfortable. So it was just a good time to do that."
Myers threw behind Ramirez in the first inning of Game 2 on Friday, and Martin was brushed back as well. The soft-tossing Moyer hit Martin with a pitch in the first inning Sunday night, and reliever Clay Condrey knocked down the Dodgers' catcher in the second.
Martin was hit by another pitch in the seventh, a breaking ball from Chad Durbin, drawing boos from the crowd and prompting Ramirez to climb to the top step of the dugout. But Martin took first base without any trouble.
Crew chief Mike Reilly said the warning was issued to protect the players.
"That's the toughest thing for an umpire to read — intentional," Reilly said. "But we absolutely had a situation, we had a batter hit and then the retaliation, pitch up high. And we figured at that point that we should put a warning in to stop any further retaliation from the other side coming back out again."
The Phillies and Dodgers don't have a recent history of animosity, unlike Boston and Tampa Bay, the ALCS participants. The Red Sox and Rays have played two peaceful games in their series after a nasty brawl in June.
"I think it's over. I'll squash it," Victorino said.
Torre thought the warning from umpires was proper.
"With the passion that goes on in this postseason, I mean, you work all year to get here, and I think the umpires just basically tried to do the safe thing," he said. "And I can't fault them in that.
"Nobody wants to get hit in the head," he added. "That's certainly frightening. I've been hit a couple of times. I'm not sure that that was the intention, even though the pitch was there. Again, you try to throw a ball inside and sometimes it gets away. But certainly there was no intent on hurting somebody in that area. That I can tell you for sure."
The Phillies and Dodgers have played 11 times this year, including eight in the regular season, with the home team winning every game. And the Dodgers' 23-9 record at home after the All-Star break was the best in the majors.
Kuroda, a 33-year-old rookie making the second postseason start of a career that includes 11 years in the Japanese Central League, gave up five hits and two runs before being relieved by Cory Wade with two on and nobody out in the seventh. Wade retired the next three batters.
The 45-year-old Moyer, who became the oldest pitcher to start a league championship series game, lasted only 1 1-3 innings for his shortest outing since July 4, 1998. He gave up six hits and six runs.
"He had a tough time tonight," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "They came out swinging on him. They were not taking very many pitches. And they hit some balls hard and also seemed like everything they hit went through for a hit."
The Dodgers had a 1-0 lead by the time Moyer had thrown five pitches on singles by Rafael Furcal, Andre Ethier and Ramirez. Casey Blake singled in another run before DeWitt lined a 2-2 pitch into the right-field corner to clear the bases and send the towel-waving, blue-clad fans at Dodger Stadium into a frenzy.
The announced attendance of 56,800 — 800 more than listed capacity — was the largest in Dodger Stadium history. Tiger Woods was a guest in owner Frank McCourt's box, wearing a Dodgers cap and NL West division champions T-shirt.
The Phillies got a run in the second on Ryan Howard's leadoff double and a two-out RBI single by Pedro Feliz, but Furcal hit Moyer's first pitch over the left-center wall in the bottom half to make it 6-1.
Nomar Garciaparra, making his first start of the postseason, hit a two-out RBI single off J.A. Happ in the fourth to extend the Dodgers' lead to 7-1.
The Phillies didn't have a base runner after Feliz's second-inning hit until Chase Utley doubled to start the seventh. Howard and Pat Burrell followed with singles to make it 7-2 and chase Kuroda.