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VIA ESPN:

Manny Ramirez didn’t plan to upstage teammate Jason Schmidt in his first major league start in more than two years.

Ramirez hit his 537th home run to pass Mickey Mantle into 15th place on the all-time list, Schmidt lasted long enough to get the victory, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-5 on Monday night.

I signed here so I could be on a winning team and have a chance to go to the playoffs and get a World Series ring. And to get a pickup like Manny is going to put us right there,” Schmidt said. “I was disappointed not to have that opportunity over the last few years to contribute, but hopefully I can help out a little bit.”

Making just his seventh start for the Dodgers since signing a three-year, $47 million contract in December 2006, Schmidt (1-0) threw 91 pitches over five innings and allowed three runs and five hits with two strikeouts and three walks. He also hit a batter.

It was an emotional day,” Schmidt said. “It’s been a struggle. I didn’t want it to take this long, but unfortunately, it did. Before the game, driving here and getting all the phone calls and text messages from everybody, there was a lot of buildup. It was fun, and I’m glad we came out on the winning end of it.”

Schmidt’s long-awaited return ended up taking a back seat to Ramirez’s homer in Mannywood, where the dreadlocked slugger went deep for the fourth time in 14 games since his 50-game drug suspension ended on July 3.

It’s awesome. It was just amazing sitting there watching that,” Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said. “It’s a huge accomplishment for any ballplayer. It’s a real milestone. You saw him hit that ball tonight. The man can hit a baseball, there’s no question about it. He brings a lot of energy and fun to the game.”

For more about this story and to see highlights of the game, please click here to see more!

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