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Ramirez passes Mantle mark

MANNY Ramirez hit his 537th home run to pass Mickey Mantle into 15th place on the all-time list, and Jason Schmidt won his first major league start in more than two years as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-5 on Monday.

Ramirez hit a two-run shot off Micah Owings (6-10) for the homer.

Ramirez, who tied Mantle on July 10, drove a 2-0 slider into the left field pavilion in the second inning to give the Dodgers a 6-3 lead. The crowd at Dodger Stadium yelled his first name in unison, hoping for a curtain call that never came.

Mantle is the ninth Hall of Famer Ramirez passed on the all-time list since the start of last season. The others were Lou Gehrig, Eddie Murray, Mel Ott, Eddie Mathews, Ernie Banks, Ted Williams, Willie McCovey and Jimmie Foxx. The next target for Ramirez is Mike Schmidt at 548.

"To be honest, I haven't been keeping track of who I've passed or where I'm at. I just wait for you guys to tell me," Ramirez said. "I just go and play and don't worry about the numbers. Maybe I will when I look back later on and see what I accomplished. But now I'm going to take it day by day and see if we can go to the next step."

Ramirez returned to the Dodgers lineup on July 3 after serving a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy.

Monday's home run was the 12-time All-Star's 400th in the regular season against right-handed pitching. Owings became the 351st pitcher Ramirez has homered against, compared to 244 for Mantle - who was third on the home run list behind Babe Ruth and Willie Mays when he retired in 1969.

Real milestone

"It's awesome. It was just amazing sitting there watching that," Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said. "It's a huge accomplishment for any ballplayer. It's a real milestone. "

Elsewhere in the National League, it was: Phillies 10, Cubs 1; Pirates 8, Brewers 5; Mets 6, Nationals 2; Braves 11, Giants 3; Astros 3, Cardinals 2; Rockies 10, Diamondbacks 6; and Marlins 3, Padres 2.

In the American League, it was: Yankees 2, Orioles 1; Rangers 6, Red Sox 3; White Sox 4, Rays 3; and Athletics 14, Twins 13.

In Los Angeles, making just his seventh start for the Dodgers since signing a three-year, US$47 million deal in December 2006, Schmidt (1-0) threw 91 pitches over five innings and allowed three runs and five hits.

Jonathan Broxton pitched a perfect ninth for his 23rd save.

Owings gave up seven runs and nine hits in five innings, including Andre Ethier's 19th homer, while Cincinnati lost its 10th straight in Los Angeles.


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