Denver—How's this for unexpected?
The Dodgers are averaging more runs per game since Manny Ramirez's suspension than they were before it.
OK, so the numbers are skewed because of the Dodgers' 16-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Monday at Coors Field. And, no, there isn't a soul in the Dodgers' clubhouse who is saying they're a better team without Ramirez.
But the Dodgers have won 10 of 17 games since Ramirez went into exile and the only major adjustment they've had to make is in how they've scored.
Of their 19 hits Monday, only three went for extra bases -- a three-run triple by Juan Pierre in the fourth inning and run-scoring doubles by Jamie Hoffmann and Casey Blake in the seventh.
The long ball is, figuratively speaking, gone.
The Dodgers hit 24 home runs in 29 games with Ramirez. They've hit only 10 since, including two in a six-game homestand that ended Sunday.
"We have a deep lineup," Manager Joe Torre said. "We're going to make pitchers beat us."
The Dodgers have averaged 5.88 runs in the last 17 games, up from 5.55 in the first 29.
"Up and down this lineup, everyone brings something different to the table," said Pierre, who was two for six with two runs.
The Dodgers had two big innings Monday -- a seven-run fourth and an eight-run seventh.
Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa struck out six batters in the first three innings but never made it out of the fourth, as he was charged with every one of the Dodgers' runs that inning, which started with five consecutive singles.
Seven players had multihit games. Russell Martin, Matt Kemp, James Loney and Juan Castro had three hits each.
Pierre, Kemp and Castro drove in three runs each.
"The lineup, the bench, you don't know who it's going to be," Loney said.
That has been particularly helpful at a time when Andre Ethier is slumping and nursing a broken toenail, and Martin and Rafael Furcal are still searching for some semblance of rhythm at the plate. (Ethier and Furcal didn't play Monday.)
When players in the Dodgers' clubhouse talk about the shift in style, they almost always mention Pierre, the veteran outfielder who came off the bench to take Ramirez's place in the left field.
Pierre is batting .397 since Ramirez was hit with his 50-game ban.
"Obviously, you can't fill the shoes of Manny," pitcher Eric Stults said. "But with him, when he gets on, with his speed, it's almost like him hitting a double."
Stults was grateful, particularly because of the way he pitched.
The left-hander had skipped his previous start because of a sprained thumb on his pitching hand and had no command in his return. Stults had to throw 95 pitches to get through 4 1/3 innings, as he walked seven batters.
He gave up four runs in the bottom of the fourth, reducing a 7-0 Dodgers lead to 7-4.
Stults was replaced by another pitcher with a damaged digit, Jeff Weaver, who didn't pitch for five days because of a blood blister on his middle finger.
Weaver gave up two runs in 1 1/3 innings and the margin was down to 7-6.
But the Rockies countered the Dodgers' substandard pitching with pitching of their own that was downright awful, as Jason Grilli and Alan Embree each was pounded for four runs in the seventh.