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Ramirez runs out of steam vs. Dodgers

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- JC Ramirez's night started off fine. The Angels right-hander held his own early on before things went awry during a 6-2 loss to the Dodgers on Thursday night.

Ramirez (7-6, 4.60 ERA) relinquished six runs (five earned) on seven hits -- including three home runs -- and a walk, while recording three strikeouts across 5 2/3 innings.

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ANAHEIM -- JC Ramirez's night started off fine. The Angels right-hander held his own early on before things went awry during a 6-2 loss to the Dodgers on Thursday night.

Ramirez (7-6, 4.60 ERA) relinquished six runs (five earned) on seven hits -- including three home runs -- and a walk, while recording three strikeouts across 5 2/3 innings.

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He posted a 2-3 record in June after going 5-3 across April and May.

"It's been pretty hard. I'm glad it's gone," Ramirez said of June. "I hope July comes with good things, you know? Just have to keep working, stay mentally prepared, just keep getting focused for my next start."

The 28-year-old began Thursday night efficiently, allowing an unearned run on one hit and one walk with a pitch count of 55 through four innings.

"He had great stuff early," said Angels manger Mike Scioscia. "He was going pitch for pitch with [Dodgers ace Clayton] Kershaw."

"First three innings, they were good," Ramirez said. "I think it was pretty good, just I couldn't get ahead with my curveball."

The tide turned in the fifth when Yasiel Puig and Chase Utley teed up solo home runs. In the sixth, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger knocked a single and double, respectively, to lead off the frame, before Joc Pederson dispatched a three-run homer one out later to give the Dodgers a commanding 6-1 lead.

Ramirez, whose night ended (though he was OK) after Puig lined a single back up the middle and off his hip with two outs in the sixth, typically has issues during the first inning. Entering Thursday, 14 of his 40 runs allowed came in the opening frame. However, the Dodgers knocked the native of Nicaragua around in the fifth and sixth innings during Ramirez's third time through the order.

"I don't know if he got tired," Scioscia said. "The ball was not moving as well."

Ramirez said he found it difficult to throw breaking pitches, particularly curveballs against left-handed batters. Pederson's blast, which broke the game open, came off a hanging slider.

"With the lefties, I couldn't get ahead with my curveball, couldn't throw for any counts," Ramirez said. "It's hard to pitch a sinker or slider to lefties."

Ramirez's night came to a disappointing close. The converted reliever now has 16 career starts (all this season) under his belt, and Ramirez said he's still determining how to make adjustments on the fly. 

"I'm learning," he said. "Today, I didn't have my curveball, so I had to figure out to how to pitch without it. Now, I've got some ideas for my next outing."

Scioscia said he's not considering removing Ramirez from the rotation any time soon. Thursday night was treated more as a rarity than a common occurrence.

"He's pitched some good baseball in between some games that happened like tonight," Scioscia said. "It's new territory for JC, and we'll keep looking at him. But his velocity was fine, everything looked good. He just lost a little bit of his feel there in the later innings."

Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Angels, JC Ramirez