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.”