Slam powers Dodgers

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CHICAGO --- Manny Ramirez and Joe Torre brought their winning postseason ways to the Los Angeles Dodgers -- and Wrigley Field.

James Loney hit a go-ahead grand slam off a wild Ryan Dempster, Ramirez and Russell Martin homered and the new-look Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 7-2 in their National League playoff opener Wednesday night.

"The atmosphere here was real quiet as I was going around the bases. So I think our fans were cheering back home," Loney said.

The Cubs entered the postseason with the best record in league, hoping for a fast start 100 years after their last World Series championship.

But Ramirez and Torre, winners of six World Series crowns in the American League, wound up on top in their first playoff game together. Ramirez's homer was his 25th in the postseason, extending his record.

"I'm just being Manny," Ramirez said. "That's it. I've been playing great everywhere, and I'm just happy that I'm here in L.A. It was a great move for me, just to go and show people that that other stuff that I left behind wasn't true, that I just want to come and get a new life and play the game ... and show people that I still can do this."

The win was a good omen for the Dodgers. The last time they started a postseason series with a victory was 1988 -- the Kirk Gibson game in the World Series.

The Cubs will try to get even in Game 2 tonight. Only 18 of 56 teams who lost the division series opener came back to win the series, including only four of 28 in the NL, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"Let's hope we get better," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.

Torre made his 13th consecutive postseason managerial appearance -- the previous 12 were with the Yankees -- and extended his record for postseason wins to 77 in a matchup with Piniella, another veteran skipper.

"It does lot for our confidence," Torre said. "We know how good Chicago is. We know how consistent they've been all year. And to have them get a lead and for us to just maintain our patience, it's important."


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