Dreadlocks fever

OK, let's face it, the Angels are the better baseball team in SoCal and may prove to be the best anywhere this year. But Manny Ramirez and the mediocre Dodgers are the better story right now. Manny stroked another home run last night, his 12th in his month with the Dodgers, and L.A. beat the Padres to pull 2½ games into first place. Andre Ethier, riding the wave, had another four RBIs and has been on fire since moving ahead of Manny in the Dodgers lineup.

Noted: Joe Torre gave Andruw Jones the start in center field, perhaps to see whether surgery, exile to the minors and a lot of practice have gotten Jones out of his career-threatening rut. Uh, no. He wore the 0-for-4 collar and fanned twice.

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