LOS ANGELES – Hanley Ramirez watched the ball soar out to left field and began walking up the first-base line. “I Love L.A.” blared from the Dodger Stadium sound system as he did his home-run trot.
Ramirez crushed Blake Parker’s curveball 392 feet into the bullpen late Saturday night for his first career walk-off homer, a three-run shot that finally ended it in the 12th inning.
As the Cubs trudged off the field after a 5-2 loss, Ramirez flipped off his helmet before joining the mosh pit at home plate. Someone ripped off his white jersey amid the celebration.
The Cubs (46-63) have now played 56 innings within the last five days, three extra-inning games that included a six-hour, 27-minute marathon that went down as the longest in franchise history.
The Cubs also made it through Hug Watch at the non-waiver trade deadline, a long flight to the West Coast and a Saturday night downpour at Dodger Stadium, which hasn’t had a rainout since 2000.
In front of a sellout crowd of 53,354, Tsuyoshi Wada made it through 5 2/3 innings against the National League’s best team. The Japanese lefty allowed two runs before Cubs manager Rick Renteria made a curious decision to burn long man Carlos Villanueva, who threw one pitch to No. 8 hitter Drew Butera and got the final out in the sixth.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Wada said through an interpreter. “I respect the manager’s decision. The pitch count was high (103). We’re trying to win the game.”
The Dodgers (63-48) came alive with two outs in the 12th inning, when All-Star leadoff guy Dee Gordon hit a chopper up the middle that went over Parker’s head and underneath second baseman Arismendy Alcantara. Moments later, the lights started flashing around Dodger Stadium for the Ramirez walk-off. This one only lasted four hours and 39 minutes.
“Those guys end up grinding you out,” Renteria said. “We played a lot of extra-inning ballgames this year. It goes to show you that no matter who their opponents are, they compete. We had some opportunities to cash in some runs again today, and we just weren’t able to do it.”