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04/27/09 10:40 PM ET

Loney held out against Giants nemesis

Loretta starts at first base for Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Manny Ramirez returned to the lineup Monday night after a day off, but the hottest of the Dodgers hitters currently, James Loney, was on the bench to open the series with the Giants.

Manager Joe Torre went with the percentage matchups and sat down Loney, who against San Francisco left-handed starter Barry Zito is an amazing 1-for-20 (.050) with six strikeouts.

"It's really bizarre. I can't figure it out," said Torre.

So Loney sat, even though he has a five-game hitting streak in which he's 9-for-19 with five doubles.

Torre started veteran Mark Loretta at first base. Loretta is only 4-for-19 (.211) against Zito. Loretta, primarily a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers, also started for Loney on April 17 and went 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI.

"Loretta's been great for us," said Torre. "We need to stick him in there once in a while and get three or four at-bats."

Ramirez had the day off Sunday, his first of the season, after going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts Saturday night.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.