Kuroda's 'message' has Manny's approval

LOS ANGELES - Something had to be done. That was basically the message Manny Ramirez carried to people after last night's 7-2 scrum-infested Dodgers victory here.

That, and this: It's done.

"What happened in Philly, we think that wasn't right," the Dodgers' leftfielder said. "You know we're here and we want to send a message that we want to play the game right."

Manny seemed to want to do more than just send a message after both benches emptied last night. Led by coach Bob Schaefer, several Dodgers had to pull him away from several Phillies.

By far, Ramirez was the most animated, even more than pitcher Hiroki Kuroda or Phillies centerfielder Shane Victorino.

Kuroda claimed afterwards that he was just trying to pitch inside and the ball got away, an identical explanation to the one given by Brett Myers when he sailed a pitch 2 feet wide of Ramirez in the first inning of Game 2 Friday afternoon. Victorino objected to the placement of the pitch - just over his ducked head - and not the location horizontally.

"There was no intent to hurt anybody, I can tell you that," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.

Maybe with the pitch. But it sure seemed that Ramirez had those kind of designs as he was corralled by his team on the infield after Victorino grounded out and headed, briefly, toward Kuroda.

"I was just mad at myself for what happened in Philly," he said. "We should have done something there.

"We're a team and we have to back up each other. We just want to play the game right. That's all we want to do.

"Victorino is a great guy. I don't think we were throwing at him. We just want to send a message."

Was it delivered? The Dodgers believed so. Was this a buried issue?

"Today is over and tomorrow is a new game and let's see what happens," said Ramirez.

Said Torre, "I really don't think there's going to be anything long-lasting there.

"To me you have to be there for your teammates. And you have to support them."

Said Ramirez, "I think it's going to mellow down now. I think we're going to come in tomorrow and it's going to be all over." *