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Manny belts 25th postseason homer

Manny belts 25th postseason homer

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CHICAGO -- A home run in the playoffs?

It's just Manny being Manny.

Manny Ramirez blasted the 25th postseason home run of his career in the top of the seventh against left-hander Sean Marshall to increase the Dodgers lead over the Cubs to 5-2 in Game 1 of the National League Division Series before Los Angeles prevailed in the end, 7-2.

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The next closest players on the list are the Yankees' Bernie Williams (22) and Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle, both with 18.

"It was a pretty good pitch," Marshall said. "It was good location. I tried to get the ball down in the dirt -- it was almost in the dirt -- and he was sitting on that. Hopefully, the rest of the pitchers will learn from that and we can get the guy out."

Ramirez had fouled off the first three pitches he saw from Marshall, before the southpaw went with a curveball. It was a good pitch, down at Ramirez's toes, but he went down and golfed the ball into the center-field bleachers.

Top 10 postseason
home run hitters
Player
HR
PA
1. Manny Ramirez25428
2. Bernie Williams22544
3. Reggie Jackson18318
3. Mickey Mantle18273
5. Derek Jeter17562
5. Jim Thome17216
7. Babe Ruth15167
8. David Justice14471
9. Jim Edmonds13252
9. Chipper Jones13412
9. Albert Pujols13224

"He recognizes pitches so early," Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake said. "I mean that was a good curveball down, and Marshall has to be sitting there going, 'What do I have to do?' He's unbelievable. That's why he's one of the best right-handed hitters ever to play the game."

Marshall would not be the only one shaking his head after the homer.

"It was on the ground," Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp said. "Did you see [catcher Geovany] Soto? I think he was going to block the ball, and he just golfed it and it just went seven rows deep in left-center. Nothing he does surprises me. He does a lot of things that other people can't. I'm just glad he's on our team."

Not even Ramirez had a good explanation for how he hit the pitch.

"He did make a great pitch," Ramirez said. "You've got to give him credit. I don't know how I did it. I was just lucky enough to drive it out of the ballpark."

Ramirez, who was the MVP in the 2004 World Series for the Red Sox, now has 65 playoff RBIs in his career, trailing only Williams, who drove in 80 for the Yankees, on the all-time postseason RBIs list.

Los Angeles hit three homers on Wednesday, which accounted for six of its seven runs, two shy of the NLDS record set by the Cardinals against the Dodgers in 2004. The two teams combined for four homers, two shy of the NLDS record set by St. Louis in that same game.

A relaxed Ramirez said on Tuesday that he doesn't put any more pressure on himself in the postseason.

"I'm just going to go and be myself," he said. "If I see something I like, I'll swing. It's a game. If I go out there and give 100 percent and things don't go my way ... you've got to move on."

As he showed again on Wednesday, Ramirez seldom moves on without doing some serious damage first.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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