Gagne OK, Perez May Not Be

LOS ANGELES, California--The line is that Dodger Stadium is a tough place in which to hit a homer -- except in a day game when the ball carries well. Well, Sunday was a day game and yes, the ball carried very well, in fact the Jones boys -- Chipper and Andruw, sent the tying and winning homers out of the park in the sixth inning and seventh innings to erase 1] a 2-1 Dodger lead and 2] a strong six-inning effort by Scott Erickson.

To make matters even worse, the Dodgers fell from grace and landed in third place after enjoying first place for 32 of the past 35 days as their slump deepened with their fifth loss in their last seven games.

After being torched in his last start, Scott Erickson retired the first 11 batters and pitched on even terms with $48 million Braves ace Tim Hudson, allowing only a two-run homer to Chipper Jones in his sixth, and last, inning.

Wilson Alvarez took the first bullpen loss in five weeks.

The Dodgers led, 2-0, on RBI singles by Hee-Seop Choi in the second inning and Ricky Ledee -- who had three hits -- in the fourth. Ledee had been 0-for-10 against Hudson coming into the game.

But in a reoccurring manner, they also stranded runners in scoring position in five different innings. They put the first two batters on base in three different innings and scored only one run. They stranded 10 baserunners and went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

Oscar Robles, who arrived from Mexico after hitting near .400 during spring training and sporting a .393 average for Mexico City, has had trouble solving major league pitching. Starting at third base and batting second, is 1-for-17 after going 0-for-4 Sunday. He also bunted into a force play with no outs in the third inning, and hit into an inning-ending groundout with the bases loaded in the sixth to end a forgettable afternoon.

Erickson apparently is fond of Dodger Stadium, posting quality starts in his last two appearances, but has no wins to show for it. In this game, he got 12 of his 18 outs on ground balls, but was victimized by a home run.

Erickson threw throw a slider to Chipper Jones in the sixth and was stunned when the ball was hit out of the park. He said after the game it didn't sound like a home run and "I certainly knows what that sounds like".

Andruw Jones greeted Alvarez with a home run leading off the seventh inning to break the 2-2 tie. The Braves, who homered twice off Eric Gagne on Saturday night, got a home run from Adam LaRoche, a double from Andruw Jones and a sacrifice fly off Yhency Brazoban in the ninth.

Dodger Blue Notes--A chill went through the Dodger staff when it was found that pitcher Odalis Perez will undergo an MRI exam to determine the cause and extent of what the club describes as a "slight" shoulder impingement that forced him out of Saturday night's loss to the Atlanta Braves. Perez left the game after seven innings when his velocity dropped. He later complained of stiffness he first experienced during pregame warmups. Perez missed three weeks of Spring Training with what was diagnosed as shoulder tendinitis, and last June went on the disabled list with rotator cuff irritation. He has lost his last three starts, but has pitched at least six innings in each of his last four starts. On the season, he is 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA. … If you are worrying about Eric Gagne, don't because he isn't. Despite throwing in the low 90s Saturday night -- and getting lit up for two home runs by the Jones boys -- by the Braves, he said he is throwing pain free and said, "It's just going to take some time. It will come. I got better as the inning went on." … Olmedo Saenz has started 13 games in the field and the season isn't one-quarter over. He started 14 games in the field for all of 2004. Saenz, who played in 106 games that year for Oakland and had 305 at-bats, is seeing considerably more action this season with the swinging door at third base in an attempt to fill in for injured Jose Valentin. Saenz entered play Sunday hitting .339 with 13 RBI in 56 at-bats. … Brad Penny starts for the Dodgers on Monday night against his former team, the Florida Marlins, in the opener of a three-game series. Penny and Choi will oppose ex-Dodgers Paul Lo Duca, Guillermo Mota and Juan Encarnacion. *M*A*S*H* 4077 Report: Jason Werth was 1-for-3 for Las Vegas with a run scored and Antonio Perez was 0-for-4 with a pair of Ks in the first game of two. He was 0-for-2 in the second game. Elmer Dessens has not thrown off a mound yet but said he should be ready to do just that next week.

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