MILWAUKEE (AP) - Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly has been sharply critical of his slumping team.
For at least one day, everything was all right with the embattled Dodgers.
Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke drove in two runs each and Ramon Hernandez hit his first home run in the Dodgers' 9-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.
Even after the win, the Dodgers are last in the NL West at 19-26.
Rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-2), given a 7-0 lead, allowed two runs and six hits in a season-high 7 1-3 innings. Ryu has allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven of his 10 appearances.
``The team gave me that lead, so I was really comfortable,' Ryu said through an interpreter.
Before the game, Mattingly expressed his unhappiness with the team and benched All-Star right fielder Andre Ethier.
Mattingly, in the third and final year of his contract, discussed his club's lack of mental toughness and said he wanted a balanced team that has grit and fight.
He benched Ethier for the third time in six games and said he was ``putting out my lineup that I feel is going to be the most competitive and going to compete the hardest.'
Ethier was not informed of what his manager said until after the game by a member of the team's media relations staff, and said he took offense to the comment.
``I'm struggling just like everyone else here to get a grip and get a handle on what's going on here, and never losing hope of what our main goal is,' Ethier said. ``Which is to figure this out and turn things around. And figure out a way to get back on top of this division.'
Asked whether he thought Mattingly would be managing on Friday when the Dodgers open a series against the Cardinals, Ethier said, ``Why not? We're not out of this by far. We're right there - I don't mean right there - but we're close.
``A good run the next month or two could put us right back where we want to be by the All-Star break. We have confidence in everyone in this room and everyone on this staff. Other than the pressure put on this team to perform right away and do what's it's done is the reason why these issues are coming up.'
After the game, Mattingly was asked if he was worried about getting fired.
``No, not really,' Mattingly said. ``Should I be?
The manager then chuckled, and added, ``I'm not worried. Maybe I should be.'
Every position player for Los Angeles except Adrian Gonzalez had at least one hit.
Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta (3-5) gave up six runs - four earned -and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings.
``I'm leaving too many pitches up, right down the middle, up in the zone,' said Peralta after losing his third straight start. ``Things are not happening my way.'
Matt Kemp hit a run-scoring single in the first, and Los Angeles sent 11 batters to the plate in a five-run second.
Crawford had a two-run single, and Hernandez came home on an error by shortstop Jean Segura. Peralta then issued consecutive bases-loaded walks to Van Slyke and Nick Punto, his final two batters.
``(Peralta) left some balls up, but some were not hit that well and snuck between out infielders,' Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. ``His command left him a little bit.'
Hernandez, making just his sixth start of the season, homered off Alfredo Figaro leading off the third for his first home run since Sept. 2 for Colorado.
Ryan Braun homered in the sixth for the Brewers, his first since May 10 and ninth overall.
NOTES: Hernandez leads active catchers with 160 homers. ... The Brewers are 1-6 on Wednesdays. ... Milwaukee RHP Kyle Lohse will miss his next scheduled turn in the rotation because irritation in his throwing elbow. Mike Fiers (1-2) is slated to start in place of Lohse (1-5) on Saturday against visiting Pittsburgh.
The Associated Press News Service
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