A Pair of Veterans and a Rookie Stop Dodger Slide

Returning home from a road trip that saw them win two of 13 games, the Dodgers turned to J.D. Drew and Jeff Kent, who did not play in the final game in Anaheim Sunday, provided all the offense D.J. Houlton needed to dump the league-leading Padres 5-4 in front of 47,588 at Dodger Stadium. Drew, who missed the previous five games with a sore knee, reached base in all four of his at-bats and scored twice and Kent went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI.

After allowing four early runs, Houlton (4-1) went seven strong innings and gave up only two hits after the second inning.

Kent's two-run home run in the third inning came with the Dodgers trailing 4-1, and kept the game from slipping away.

But the big blow came in the fifth inning, with San Diego still leading 4-3. Antonio Perez scuffed a single to third to lead off the inning and Drew followed with a double to the gap in left-center field that easily scored Perez from first base to tie the game.

A passed ball moved Drew to third, and then Kent dropped a looper over the head of the shortstop for a 5-4 lead.

Kent, who leads the Dodgers in home runs (15) and RBI (58) and likely will be the National League's starting second baseman in next month's All-Star Game.

Drew also singled in the first and walked in the third and the fifth. Drew said he continues to have pain in the knee, but that it had been deemed stable enough to allow him to play.

Houlton allowed four runs (three earned), five hits and one walk and struck out five. He allowed a pair of solo home runs, but over his final five innings, he was close to untouchable, throwing his curveball for strikes.

He has become an unlikely stopper in the Dodger rotation and has three of their last four wins.

Yhency Brazoban recorded his 14th save.

Dodger Blue Notes--Milton Bradley, after improving to the point where he could begin taking practice swings, had to stop after only a few swings Monday because of persistent discomfort. Bradley injured his finger May 29 and has made almost no progress in the past four weeks. Surgery may the final option. …Odalis Perez, out since May 15 with shoulder soreness, will make a fourth rehabilitation start for Triple-A Las Vegas Thursday and could return to the Dodgers next week. Perez will have his pitch count upped to 75 and although he didn't pitch well his last rehab start, he said his shoulder felt great. …Olmedo Saenz, who suffered a slight hip strain Sunday, did not start, but took batting practice, and Tracy said before the game that Saenz would be available for pinch-hitting duty. …Pitcher Wilson Alvarez (shoulder) threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session. … Although he is only hitting .237 (9-for-38) with one run batted in, the Dodgers paid $200,000 to the Mexico City Red Devils to keep when the Monday deadline rolled around. …Disabled pitcher Wilson Alvarez had a 30-pitch bullpen session, mixing in a few curveballs. He's been out since May 31 with shoulder problems. …Outfielder Ricky Ledee had a cortisone injection for his lingering hamstring problem. Ledee had surgery in 2000 on the same hamstring. …Elmer Dessens will make his second start in five days against San Diego tonight. Dessens is allowing opposing hitters a .182 batting average and only .152 to right-handed hitters.

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