Dodgers End Losing Streak at Eight

Jeff Weaver took a shutout into the eighth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers ended an eight-game losing streak Saturday with a 7-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves. It was the second strong performance by a Dodger starter, following Odalis Perez's tough 2-0 loss Friday night. Jason Grabowski hit a two-run homer in the Dodgers' four-run third inning. and Alex Cora added a solo shot in the seventh. The victory halted the longest Los Angeles losing streak in 12 years.

Weaver (3-5) shut out the Braves for seven innings before giving up a three-run homer to pinch-hitter in the eighth. Weaver gave up six hits in seven-plus innings and set a season high with nine strikeouts while walking only one.

Weaver was effective with his sinking fastball and but he hit the wall in the eighth, tagged for a three-run pinch-homer by Dewayne Wise that ended his workday. He struck out a season-high nine without a walk. Although he's only 3-5, he has pitched at least seven innings in six of nine starts.

In an effort to shake up the lineup, manager Jim Tracy benched slumping Shawn Green. David Ross moved in at catcher and Paul Lo Duca shifted from catcher to first base to fill in for Green.

The offense was provided by the bottom of the order. Jason Grabowski hit a two-run homer and a single to set up another run. Alex Cora had a solo home run, RBI triple and two walks. David Ross had two hits and an RBI.

Grabowski is playing because Dave Roberts is hurt. Cora is a defensive specialist having a solid offensive season. Ross started as a ripple effect of Green's day off.

Grabowski has become the club's biggest surprise. Purchased from Oakland the last week of Spring Training to be a bench player, he has thrived with the opportunity to play and has an eight-game hitting streak. In 12 starts, he is batting .341 with four homers and eight RBIs.

Juan Encarnacion had the first RBI of the game in a one-out rally in the third inning that ended the scoreless-innings streak at 23. Milton Bradley banged a one-out single and Adrian Beltre's single sent Bradley to third. Encarnacion's grounder forced Beltre at second as Bradley scored. Grabowski went the opposite way and the ball landed atop the left-field fence. Ross then singled and was tripled home by Cora.

Ross had another big at-bat in the fifth, which started with Beltre's leadoff walk. One out later, Grabowski singled Beltre to third. With Grabowski running, Ross singled up the middle to score Beltre.

Cora homered with two out in the seventh and the Dodgers' final run scored in the eighth when Bradley doubled and was singled home by Encarnacion.

A rusty Eric Gagne pitched the ninth for the Dodgers, allowing a solo home run to Andruw Jones.

Dodger Blue Notes--Shawn Green's average dipped to .219 after an 0-for-4 in the opener of the Braves series and manager Jim Tracy gave him the day off on Saturday afternoon. Green is in a 3-for-27 drought and has gone 11 games since his last home run and eight games since his last RBI. ... Adding to the Dodger woes, and their losing streak, Milton Bradley (ankle), Juan Encarnacion (shoulder) and Adrian Beltre (ankle bone spur) have been trying to play through injuries. Bradley hasn't driven in a run in eight games, Encarnacion missed four starts and has one RBI and no home runs in the last 13 games, Beltre has one home run and three RBIs during the eight-game losing streak and his average has fallen 50 points since the ankle flared up in Miami two weeks ago. ... With stiffness the day after running the bases, disabled outfielder Dave Roberts will have another base-running workout Sunday and might be sent on a brief minor league rehabilitation assignment at nearby Double-A Jacksonville before being activated in Milwaukee. ... Tracy said Jose Lima would make the start for Hideo Nomo next Saturday. Nomo suffered a torn fingernail, which is still too sensitive to allow him to play catch. ... Paul Shuey said his thumb "feels good" the day after his first bullpen session since suffering a partially ruptured tendon in Spring Training. For the next week he will pitch off the mound every other day. ... Jason Frasor, the pitcher the Dodgers traded for Jason Werth, is quickly making a name for himself with the Toronto Blue Jays. Frasor has given up two earned runs in 18 innings for a 1.00 earned-run average since being promoted from Triple-A Syracuse last month and could assume the closer's role if the Blue Jays' other options continue to falter. ...

Game of May 21 (Editors Note: Due to a dozen tornados that roamed the midwest on Saturday, knocking down trees, power lines and many other things that got in the way and a freak, 85 mph straight wind that damaged much of what the twisters missed, this report was delayed. Our apologies that it is tardy.

Odalis Perez, who had limited his former team to two hits through six innings, needed 32 pitches to get through a seventh in which he allowed Chipper Jones' solo homer to break an 0-0 tie. A second run, brought on by sloppy fielding, came off Darren Dreifort in the eighth.

The Dodgers managed to load the bases twice with one out only to come up empty each time.

Adrian Beltre, who replaced Green in the cleanup spot, led off the second with a single, went to second on Juan Encarnacion's one-out single and took third on Jason Grabowski's walk. Cora then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Walks loaded the bases in the sixth before Shaen Green grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Green is hitting .157 in May and .219 overall.

Friday marked the lowest Green had hit in the order since batting sixth on July 20, 2001, and the first time he had hit fifth since June 23 of the same season.

Perez needed only 72 pitches to get through the sixth, having faced one batter over the minimum. A single in the second and a double in the third were the only hits the lefty allowed.

Perez's pitch to Chipper Jones in the seventh was a low change but, but the slugger reached out and golfed it into the stands for the only runs the Braves needed.

The Braves added a run in the eighth after Green didn't handle a but well, then threw past Perez covering first. The benevolent scorer called it a hit. Shortstop Cesar Izturis, playing in with runners on first and third and nobody out, fielded a grounder by Jesse Garcia and appeared to have time to get Nick Green at the plate. But Izturis' high throw nicked off Lo Duca's glove, allowing Green to score. Oddly enough, no error was charged on that play either.