Blue Crew Still Soaring

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If the Dodgers maintain this lofty pace, the National League West could be a one-sided affair. Right now, the Dodgers are closing out a long home stand, and are a half-game behind the first-place San Diego Padres.

The Blue Crew divided four games with the Atlanta Braves, including last Sunday’s 5-4, 11-inning decision, after blowing a 2-0 lead, and falling 9-3, Saturday night as one-time Angel Troy Glaus hit a key homer for the Braves.

On Sunday, the Dodgers were out-hit, 12-10, but had enough when it counted. James Loney had two hits, drove in two runs and scored a run, while Rafael Furcal smacked a solo homer in the fifth, with Blake DeWitt (two hits), and A.J. Ellis, driving in a run for the Dodgers (33-24), who fell behind 1-0 in the third inning, tied it in the fourth, before the Braves went in front 4-1 in the top of the fifth, only to knot it at 4-4 in the bottom of the same inning.

On Friday, the Dodgers came from behind and pulled out a 5-4 win with Loney getting a run-scoring single in the seventh inning.

The Dodgers burst out to a 4-0 advantage through the first two innings, as Furcal, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Ronnie Belliard, all drove in a run.

Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw lasted six-and-two-third innings, striking out eight and walking five, but didn’t get the decision.

That went to Hong-Chih Kuo (1-1), who allowed one hit during his four-out performance. Closer Jonathan Broxton picked up his 14th save, and lowered his earned-run average to 1.07.

The Braves battled back and knotted the game with two runs in the third and two in the seventh.

Pitcher Kris Medlen was in control during Atlanta’s 4-3 triumph the previous evening. Proving his value, the hurler drove in a run with a double. The Braves scored single runs in the first and sixth, and added two in the fourth off loser Hiroki Kuroda, who went six innings and gave up seven hits.

Ethier doubled and singled, Loney had two singles and scored a run, while Furcal and Belliard drove in a run apiece.

In a weird twist, two of the three victories over the Arizona Diamondbacks came in extra innings. On Wednesday afternoon, reserve outfielder Garret Anderson’s blooper into left-center field scored Kemp in the 14th inning for a 1-0 win.

The previous night, Kemp’s monster home run to left field in the 10th inning gave the Dodgers a 1-0 victory.

Jeff Weaver (3-1) was the winning pitcher after toiling one inning. John Ely had another strong outing, matching Dan Haren. Ely fanned five and walked two, with two hits and no runs in seven innings. Haren struck out eight and allowed seven hits and no runs in eight innings.

The Dodgers took the series opener on Monday against Arizona, 5-4, as Casey Blake raced home from third base in the bottom of the ninth when pitcher Esmerling Vasquez balked.

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