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Dodgers Go For Sweep In Milwaukee

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Dodgers will be wrapping up the first leg of a two-city road trip this afternoon. Whether Manny Ramirez is still with the team for the second stage of the trek remains to be seen.

With Ramirez's immediate future in question, the Dodgers will try to focus on recording a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers when the two teams square off again today at Miller Park.

Various outlets have reported that Ramirez has been placed on waivers by the Dodgers, and there's speculation that the Chicago White Sox have interest in obtaining the veteran slugger for the season's stretch run. The 38-year-old impending free agent is batting .313 with eight homers and 40 RBI during an injury-plagued 2010 campaign.

Although dealing Ramirez could hamper their own playoff chances, the Dodgers have been able to keep themselves in the race by taking the first two games of this series. After posting a 5-4 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday, Los Angeles closed within 5 1/2 games of Philadelphia and San Francisco for the lead in the National League Wild Card standings.

Ramirez had a hand in yesterday's win, doubling twice in two official at-bats and knocking in a run in the sixth inning to give Los Angeles a 5-3 lead. The outfielder also scored on James Loney's two-run single in the fifth that put the Dodgers up by a 4-3 count.

Loney also finished with two hits on the night, while Andre Ethier contributed a solo homer to help back seven solid innings out of Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda.

"It was a good game, we played well and we were spirited," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "We just need to keep playing well and get on a winning streak."

Kuroda (9-11) allowed four runs on seven hits and struck out six before turning the game over to his team's bullpen, with four Dodger relievers combining to hold the Brewers scoreless the rest of the way.

"We went out there and lost a two-run lead," said Milwaukee manager Ken Macha. "[The Dodgers] have a great bullpen there that just shut us down."

Former Dodger Randy Wolf (10-10) was saddled with the loss for the Brewers after being reached for four runs on seven hits over the first five innings.

Milwaukee has now dropped three in a row following a four-game win streak and will turn to ace Yovani Gallardo in hopes of salvaging today's finale. The All-Star right-hander hasn't been at his best of late, however, having registered a subpar 7.20 earned run average over his past five starts and surrendered four or more runs in all but one of those games.

Gallardo is coming off a rough outing at home against NL West leader San Diego on Friday, when he was tagged for six runs in a 3 1/3-inning no-decision. He also walked five batters and served up two homers before the early exit.

The 24-year-old has also had his struggles when facing the Dodgers in the past. Gallardo has lost both of his previous starts against Los Angeles and been rocked for a total of 14 runs and 16 hits in just 10 1/3 innings.

Torre will hand the ball to Carlos Monasterios today for the rookie's second start since replacing the injured Vicente Padilla in the club's rotation. The young right-hander managed a career-best six strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings in his most recent assignment, although that resulted in a loss after he permitted three runs (one earned) and eight hits against NL Central front- runner Cincinnati on Friday.

Monasterios, selected from the Philadelphia organization in the Rule 5 draft over the winter, has been used as both a starter and reliever during his debut season and been effective in both roles. The native Venezuelan is 3-4 with a respectable 3.63 ERA in 26 appearances, nine of which were starts.

The 24-year-old pitched two innings out of the bullpen against the Brewers on May 4 and gave up a run on three hits.

These teams have split the past 10 meetings against one another, with Milwaukee taking two of three matchups from the Dodgers in Los Angeles back in May.