SAN FRANCISCO — Hanley Ramirez’s daily chats with hitting instructor Manny Mota are already paying big dividends for the Dodgers.
Now it’s even more clear why the Los Angeles front office didn’t flinch when pursuing a deal for the high-priced slugger this week.
Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning and the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 5-3 on Friday night in a matchup of the top two teams in the NL West.
“It’s why I’m here,” Ramirez said. “Manny Mota spoke to me and told me, ‘Don’t try to do too much. Just do what you know how to do.’ Every day he comes and talks to me. I have a lot to learn from him.”
Two days after being acquired from Miami in a trade meant to boost the Dodgers’ offense and playoff hopes, Ramirez went hitless in his first four at-bats against the Giants before homering to left-center on an 0-1 pitch from reliever Sergio Romo (3-2).
Ramirez’s 15th home run of the season extended a stellar start to his Los Angeles career. The infielder slugger had three hits in the first two games with his new club and is batting .364 since the trade from the Marlins.
“Just another lethal bat in our lineup,” catcher A.J. Ellis said. “That ball was crushed.”
Ramirez also made a potential run-saving play in the field when he dove into foul territory to catch a throw from rookie pitcher Stephen Fife for a forceout following Matt Cain’s attempted sacrifice bunt in the fourth.
It was exactly the type of performance manager Don Mattingly hoped for from Ramirez after the third baseman had some issues in Miami.
“Hanley’s an intelligent guy,” Mattingly said. “He’s been easy to deal with.”
Andre Ethier, who walked ahead of Ramirez’s home run, had two hits and scored twice to help pull Los Angeles within two games of first-place San Francisco.
The Giants, looking to bolster their light-hitting offense, obtained veteran infielder Marco Scutaro from Colorado in a deal that was announced during the game.
“It’s no secret we’re looking for experience and depth,” San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean said.
Even with their offense sputtering, the Giants didn’t go quietly.
Kenley Jansen gave up back-to-back singles to Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey to open the bottom of the 10th. Jansen struck out the next two batters and then got Joaquin Arias to fly out for his 20th save.
“We needed that win,” Ramirez said. “We have a couple months left and we’re just going to go out there and keep winning series.”
James Loney and Juan Rivera had two hits apiece for the Dodgers, who beat the Giants for the third time in seven games this season.
Shawn Tolleson (1-0) pitched one inning for his first major league win.
Los Angeles needed this one after getting shut out in three consecutive games here earlier this season.
The Dodgers got a stellar outing from rookie starter Stephen Fife and just enough from the bullpen until Ramirez’s heroics in the 10th.
Fife was called up from the minors before the game to make his second career start and pitched into the seventh inning. He also helped end the Dodgers’ 38-inning scoreless streak at AT&T Park when he doubled off Cain in the fifth for his first career hit.
Jerry Hairston Jr. followed with an RBI double and scored on Mark Ellis’ single to give Los Angeles a 2-1 lead.
Before that the Dodgers had not scored at the Giants’ waterfront ballpark since Sept. 11, 2011, including a series sweep earlier this season.
Los Angeles got to Cain again in the sixth when Ethier hit a leadoff double and scored on Loney’s single.
Cain allowed three runs and nine hits over seven innings. The All-Star right-hander, who struck out two and didn’t walk anyone, has only one win over his last six starts and was on the hook for the loss until San Francisco scored twice in the eighth.
Cabrera singled and went to third on Angel Pagan’s one-out double. Brandon Belt followed with his third hit, a looping single to center that drove in two and tied the game at 3.
The Giants’ biggest problem isn’t their pitching, however. That’s why they made the deal for Scutaro. He was hitting .271 with four home runs and 30 RBIs in 95 games for the Rockies.
CARDINALS 9, CUBS 6
CHICAGO — Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina and Lance Berkman were part of St. Louis’ power show as the Cardinals became the first team in eight years to hit a home run in each of the first five innings.
BRAVES 6, PHILLIES 1
ATLANTA — Brian McCann hit a three-run homer off Cole Hamels, and Ben Sheets (3-0) extended his comeback to end Philadelphia’s four-game winning streak and cost the Phillies a chance to move out of last place in the NL East.
PIRATES 6, ASTROS 5
HOUSTON — Drew Sutton scored on a wild pitch by Xavier Cedeno in the ninth inning to propel Pittsburgh over the hapless Astros (34-67), who tied the club mark with their 11th straight loss. They have lost 24 of 26 overall.
PADRES 7, MARLINS 2
MIAMI — Miami natives Yasmani Grandal and Yonder Alonso powered San Diego as the slumping Marlins lost for the eighth time in nine games.
BREWERS 6, NATIONALS 0
MILWAUKEE — Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez homered to back another fine pitching performance by Mike Fiers, and Milwaukee snapped a seven-game slide.
REDS 3, ROCKIES 0
DENVER — Bronson Arroyo pitched into the seventh inning, Ryan Ludwick scored twice as Cincinnati won its eighth straight.
D-BACKS 11, METS 5
PHOENIX — Josh Collmenter pitched six innings and drove in a run during Arizona’s six-run second and the Diamondbacks sent reeling Mets to their 13th loss in 15 games.
Yanks rout Red Sox
NEW YORK — Raul Ibanez and Russell Martin hit two-run homers, Curtis Granderson capped the scoring with an eighth-inning grand slam, and New York powered past the Boston Red Sox 10-3.
ANGELS 3, RAYS 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Albert Pujols had three hits, including a two-run double, and Dan Haren won his second straight start since coming off the disabled list as the Angels snapped a six-game losing streak against the Rays.
BLUE JAYS 8, TIGERS 3
TORONTO — Carlos Villanueva won his fourth straight start, Travis Snider hit a two-run home run and the Blue Jays won for the fifth time in seven games.
TWINS 11, INDIANS 0
MINNEAPOLIS — Scott Diamond tossed a three-hitter, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham hit three-run homers.
ATHLETICS 14, ORIOLES 9
BALTIMORE — Jemile Weeks hit an RBI single to give Oakland the lead during a six-run ninth inning against All-Star closer Jim Johnson, and the Athletics beat Baltimore in a back-and-forth duel that featured 31 hits and lasted four hours.
WHITE SOX 9, RANGERS 5
ARLINGTON, Texas — Alejandro De Aza hit a two-run single before leaving the game after an outfield collision, and the Chicago White Sox beat Texas in a series opener between American League division leaders.
MARINERS 6, ROYALS 1
SEATTLE — John Jaso drove in four runs and Blake Beavan pitched into the seventh inning.