Dodgers Blow Lead, Rally to Win 7-4

PHOENIX, Arizona--Last season the Dodgers made a habit of spotting the opponents a number of runs, then fighting back to win late in the game. 50+ times they duplicated that successful formula. The 2005 club has varied the scenario and have rolled up an early lead, lost the margin but then winning with late-game heroics. However that may be, Los Angeles finally won two in a row for the first time in May, stopping the Diamondbacks 7-4 Friday night. LA hasn't had two straight wins in May.

The Dodgers built a 4-0 lead, this time on a grand slam by Jeff Kent. Derek Lowe sailed into the final innings, holding on to the margin but reliever Kelly Wunsch gave up the game-tying hit. The win came on a two-run homer by Olmedo Saenz in the top of the eighth.

The Dodgers needed this game because left-hander Derek Thompson, a rookie who never pitched above Double-A, will make a spot start tonight. Thompson performed well during spring training.

In eight starts with Jacksonville, Thompson was 0-2 with a 3.89 ERA. He has struck out 43 and walked 19 in 41.2 innings. He was on the disabled list with a strained right calf when the Dodgers called him up on Thursday.

To clear a roster spot for Thompson, right-hander Buddy Carlyle's recent cup of coffee had hardly cooled before he was optioned back to the 51s after the game.

The Dodgers pounded out 10 hits and generated a three-run rally immediately after a two-run, game-tying homer Tony Clark hit on the first pitch Wunsch threw after relieving Lowe with two outs in the seventh.

Lowe went 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits, and was removed when he allowed a looping, two-out single to former Dodgers minor league catcher Koyie Hill, and manager Jim Tracy brought in Wunch to pitch to Clark who hits only .241 from the right side.

The resulting homer made it 4-4.

Wunsch, who won his first game for the Dodgers despite blowing the save, then allowed a double to Craig Counsell before walking Jose Cruz Jr. He then nailed to tough Luis Gonzalez on a called third strike.

Milton Bradley opened the eighth with a walk. One out later, Saenz lined a shot into the Diamondbacks bullpen in left, in nearly the same spot Kent's 12th career grand slam landed, breaking a 1-for-26 slump.

J.D. Drew followed with a double and scored on Antonio Perez's single, giving the young infielder a gaudy, .550 average (11 for 20) since coming off the disabled list.

Saenz's numbers are nearly as sparkling as Perez's. In only 75 at-bats, he has 20 RBI, a .333 batting average and .600 slugging percentage. He's already started more games in the field this year than he did all last year.

Eric Gagne recorded a Gagne-like save, pitching a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Dodgers (25-22) remained 3 1/2 games behind division-leading San Diego in the National League West after the Padres won at San Francisco.

Dodger Blue Notes--The Los Dodgers placed catcher Paul Bako on the 15-day disabled list and called up young catching prospect Dioner Navarro from Las Vegas. Bako has a mild sprain of his left anterior cruciate ligament suffered when he stopped suddenly while running between second and third in the ninth inning of Thursday night's 6-4 victory at San Francisco. Navarro was traded to two teams in a matter of days in the offseason. The New York Yankees sent him to the Diamondbacks as part of the Randy Johnson trade. Arizona then sent the young catcher to the Dodgers as part of the Shawn Green trade. Navarro, 21, was hitting .243 with two home runs and 11 RBI in 36 games for Las Vegas. … After the game, Jeff Kent told reporters that during his slump have focused too much on batting average. "My job is to drive in runs and help win games," he said. "You're talking about the most overrated stat in the game, batting average. It has little to do with winning games." … In addition to Bako, currently disabled Dodgers include Odalis Perez (who throws a bullpen session on Saturday in Los Angeles), Elmer Dessens (who throws batting practice in Arizona on Saturday), Jose Valentin (out until after the All-Star break with a knee injury), Jason Grabowski (on a Minor League rehab assignment) and Darren Dreifort, who is out permanently.