LOS ANGELES —Things are going so well for the Dodgers in their ballpark, they set a National League record for home wins from the start of a season despite going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and hitting into a triple play.
Los Angeles became the first NL club since 1900 to win its first 11 home games, beating the Diamondbacks 7-2 Monday night with a homer and three RBIs from Manny Ramirez.
“I’m certainly not anxious to leave here, especially with the success we’ve had at home,” manager Joe Torre said with six games remaining on the 11-game homestand.
The defending NL West champions broke the previous league record for longest home winning streak to start a season, set by the 1918 New York Giants and equaled by the 1970 Chicago Cubs and 1983 Atlanta Braves—who were managed by Torre.
“It’s sweet. We just have to keep adding on now,” catcher Russell Martin said. “We’re still playing good baseball and we’ve been playing solid defense. You’re not going to have everything every night, and tonight our pitching took care of a lot.”
The Dodgers are the first team to start a season 11-0 at home since the 2003 Kansas City Royals. The major league mark is 12, set in 1911 by the Detroit Tigers.
The best 11-game home start Torre had during his 12 seasons managing the Yankees was 10-1, with the 1998 and 1999 teams. That ’98 World Series championship squad was 33-6 at home at the All-Star break—including a win over the Angels at Shea Stadium after Yankee Stadium was closed for two days due to unsafe conditions caused by a fallen expansion joint from the upper deck.
“Streaks are fine, but each game takes on a life of its own for me,” Torre said. “I mean, you constantly remind the players that they really haven’t done anything—and don’t think that because you’ve won every game at home, it’s going to automatically be willed to you.
“The thing I’m proud about is that we played with a lot of energy and resolve tonight. This ballclub didn’t come in here expecting to automatically win a ballgame. There’s no shortcut. You have to go out and work and be ready to play. And this club has been good at doing that.”
The Dodgers are a big league-best 19-8 overall, their best start since Tommy Lasorda’s 1983 club opened 20-7.
Eric Stults (3-1) allowed two runs and five hits over 5 2/3 innings and struck out four, after lasting only 2 2/3 innings Wednesday at San Francisco.
“I know that we have a great roll going here, and it seems like we’re a team that likes to play at home,” Stults said. “It’s great to get a little part of history like that. It’s a lot of fun when you’re winning ballgames.”
Arizona shortstop Josh Wilson, making his third start this season in place of injured Stephen Drew, bobbled Matt Kemp’s routine grounder for an error in his haste to start a double play in the second inning. But he made up for the mistake moments later, making a lunging catch of Casey Blake’s line drive in the hole with the runners going and turning it into the second triple play in Diamondbacks history.
“That’s definitely a rarity, and to be a part of one is something special,” Wilson said. “I knew the runners were moving, and the ball almost came out of my glove, so I was just making sure I held onto it first. And once I did, I knew we were going to get three outs.”
Arizona starter Doug Davis (2-4) appreciated the defensive help, but it wasn’t enough for the left-hander, whose teammates have scored fewer than three runs in five of his six starts this season.
Davis was charged with four runs, five hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings. In his last three starts at Chavez Ravine—all losses—he has allowed 13 earned runs over 10 2/3 innings.
First-inning homers by Ramirez and Andre Ethier—on consecutive pitches— were the sixth of the season for both. Ramirez’s 533rd home run put him within one of Jimmie Foxx for 16th place on the career list and just three behind Mickey Mantle.
Notes: Among the pitchers the Dodgers have faced at Chavez Ravine during this record-setting streak have been former Cy Young Award winners Randy Johnson, Barry Zito and Jake Peavy. … The Diamondbacks’ only other triple play was on May 31, 2000, against St. Louis. It was the first time the Dodgers hit into one since Aug. 4, 1991, at Houston.