Jeff Kent Records 2,000th Hit

HOUSTON, Texas--Jeff Kent, after missing two games with a tender hamstring, singled twice and knocked in a run that put the Dodgers in front of Houston and Roger Clemens, recording his 2,000th major league hit in the bargain and rookie D.J. Houlton returned to Houston to show the Astros they made a mistake in leaving him available in the Rule V draft. All that was missing was a solid effort by the Dodger bullpen and it would have been a bright spot in an otherwise bleak season.

But, like much of the 2005 season, things just didn't quite work out they way they should have.
>
Duaner Sanchez, working in relief of Houlton in the seventh, gave up a booming triple to Lance Berkman to tie the game 2-2, then Yhency Brazoban (2-3) took over in the ninth and allowed three hits and the winning run.
>
Kent singled in the fourth and fifth innings to finally reach the 2,000 hit mark after struggling for a couple game. He also suffered a mildly strained left hamstring as he ran out his milestone hit. He left the game three innings later. He will probably not play in todays game and could miss Sundays contest also.
>
The third-place Dodgers (40-46) fell a season-worst six games below .500 and a season-worst-tying 6 1/2 games behind division-leading San Diego in the National League West.
>
Rookie D.J. Houlton had a spectacular performance against the club that left him exposed to the Rule 5 draft each of the past two winters. To make the evening almost perfect, he banged his first major league extra-base hit, a ground-rule double against Clemens, perhaps the best pitcher in baseball.
>
However the story of the game was similar to many of the other 46 losses the Dodgers have suffered this season.
>
They scored twice to overcome a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning but it took three singles and a double to do the damage. They could only manage two more hits in the final four innings.
>
Houlton had allowed six hits with two out in the seventh inning when he walked Craig Biggio with his 102nd pitch. Manager Jim Tracy called for Sanchez and Berkman slugged his first pitch over Jason Repko's head in center field to tie things at 2-2.
>
In the ninth, with Brazoban on the mound to protect the 2-2 tie, leadoff man Willy Taveras led off with a grounder to first baseman Hee-Seop Choi. Choi fumbled the ball jut for a moment, then threw too late to Brazoban covering first.
>
It was just a matter of time then. A sacrifice bunt moved him to second, an intentional walk set up a double play came before a booming drive by Morgan Ensberg that fell between Repko and Cody Ross on the warning track in right-center field, and the game was over.
>
Wunch Out for Season--Dodgers left-hander Kelly Wunsch is expected to undergo season-ending surgery on his right ankle after suffering a ruptured peroneal tendon while warming up to enter Thursday's game at Colorado, an unusual injury in an unusual season. The only lefty on the 25-man roster, Wunsch (32) should be fully recovered by spring training. Wunsch had a 4.56 ERA in 45 appearances, but he allowed just six of the 37 baserunners he inherited to score and held opposing left-handed hitters to a .194 average. He expressed hope that the Dodgers would sign him in 2006. Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta, who signed Wunsch to a minor-league contract last winter before the pitcher made the team out of spring training, said he liked what Wunsch has brought to the club and hinted that the Dodgers would like to bring him back in 2006. Wunsch's roster spot was taken by outfielder Ricky Ledee, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list after missing a month with a left hamstring strain. Now the Dodgers have to find another lefty out of the bullpen. Veteran Wilson Alvarez, who was scheduled to throw 25-30 pitches Friday night during his second rehabilitation appearance with Triple-A Las Vegas, should be ready by the start of the second half next Thursday. The only other lefty on the 40-man roster is Derek Thompson, currently at Las Vegas, and he is a starter. Veteran Mike Venafro was a decent situational lefty for the Dodgers late last season, but he has a 7.92 ERA in 31 appearances at Las Vegas and isn't on the 40-man roster.

Dodger Blue Notes-- First baseman Hee-Seop Choi has been invited to compete for his native South Korea in Monday night's All-Star Home Run Derby in Detroit, which will play out under a different format this season with players competing for their home countries. ...Wilson Alvarez is scheduled to pitch Friday night for Las Vegas but the game was rained out. Tracy said that Alvarez could join the Dodgers next Thursday when they return from the All-Star break to open a series with San Francisco at home. …Ricky Ledee, who was hitting .279 with two homers and 16 RBI, was placed on the disabled list June 7 with a strained left hamstring. He said he was ready to go full time but Tracy said he would be careful with him for a time. …Tracy also reported that outfielder Milton Bradley did some soft toss Friday, as well as taking 40 swings from the left side of the plate and 20 from the right side. Bradley was placed on the DL on May 30 with a torn ligament in his finger. …Infielder Jose Valentin took live batting practice for the first time Friday and did some angle running. Valentin was placed on the 15-day DL on May 4 with torn ligaments in his right knee and moved to the 60-day DL on May 24.