Odalis Perez Stops the Bleeding

Odalis Perez won 15 games after the Dodgers acquired him from Atlanta in 2002 and has attempted to regain that level of excellence over the ensuing seasons. Thursday night he succeeded, holding the Phillies to one run over eight innings and struck out eight while keeping Los Angeles from sinking even further behind in the N.L. West race with a 5-1 win

. He has been tantalizingly close over the years but has alternated with games in which he is hit hard. Manager Jim Tracy has no idea which Odalis Perez will show up after he writes his name on the lineup card.

Last night he got the good one.

Perez shut off the Philadelphia power that had keyed the first two games of he season for the second time in less than a month before 44,963 at Dodger Stadium. Perez (7-6) worked a season-high eight innings, allowed five hits and struck out eight, tieing a club high for the season.

His performance followed his previous start in Pittsburgh during which he gave up five earned runs in an 9-4 Pirate win. The win ran his career mark against Philadelphia to 6-3, which includes seven scoreless innings in a win on the road last month.

Despite the win, the Dodgers were unable to pick up ground in the National League West race, as San Diego and Arizona each posted victories. The Dodgers remain seven games behind the Padres.

A three-run fifth inning broke up a 1-1 game and Jason Phillips' home run (#10) iced the cake.

Perez allowed a triple and a double in the first inning after the Jose Valentin's RBI single in the first gave the Dodgers an unearned run and a 1-0 lead. Perez surrendered a triple and a double in the second to tie things but he didn't allow another hit until the seventh and no runner reached second base.

Chase Utley tripled, the ball bouncing off the wall bordering the right-field seats and back toward the infield. Perez retired the next two hitters but No. 8 hitter Mike Lieberthal doubled to tie the game.

Oscar Robles and Jayson Werth, fresh off he disabled list, walked to open the fifth and Milton Bradley lashed a single off David Bell's glove to load the bases.

Jeff Kent lined a double just inside the third base bag to score Robles and Werth. That ran his RBI total to 80 for the season. Olmedo Saenz is second on the club with 50 ribbies. Kent has 72 as a second baseman and is one off Davey Lopes' Los Angeles Dodgers record set in 1979. Jackie Robinson holds the franchise record of 124 set in 1949.

The Dodgers were 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Duaner Sanchez pitched a perfect ninth inning in a non-save situation. Sanchez has appeared in 60 games, second-most in the majors.

Navarro, called up from Las Vegas on July 29, had a career-best three hits. Acquired from the Yankees in the trade that sent Shawn Green to the Diamondbacks, has had mixed results so far. He was 6-for-11 in the series to raise his average to .286, but he has no extra-base hits and the RBI was his first.

Jose Cruz, acquired in a trade with the Boston Red Sox, struck out for the fifth time in six official trips to the plate in his two-games with the Dodger.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Manager Jim Tracy replaced rookie Yhency Brazoban, who became the Dodger closer when Eric Gagne was lost for the year because of elbow trouble in mid-June, as the club's stopper. It will be just "for a brief period of time," he said and a combination of rookie Steve Schmoll and Duaner Sanchez will be used in his place. Sanchez is 3-4 with a 4.04 ERA, and Schmoll, who surprised everyone by making the roster out of spring training, is 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA but has been effective of late. Brazoban had thrown a grand slam in the ninth inning of a tie game the night before. Brazoban, 25, said he was OK with Tracy's decision and insisted he was fine physically. Brazoban, who was the closer to begin the season with Gagne on the disabled list before moving back to set-up man in May and then closer again, strangely enough has been much better in save situations, where he has an earned-run average of 3.08 and has converted a club rookie record 21 of 25 save opportunities. In non-save situations, such as last night, Brazoban's ERA is 10.98. …The Dodgers activated outfielder Jayson Werth from the disabled list and put left-handed Wilson Alvarez, 35, on the DL because of a sore pitching shoulder, the same ailment that has shelved him for 42 games in two DL stints earlier this year. Alvarez tried to warm up in the bullpen during Wednesday night's game, but shut himself down. …Cesar Izturis woke up with back soreness and didn't start but is expected to play today. The domino effect forced Oscar Robles to move to shortstop, Jose Valentin to third and Werth taking Valentin's place in left. Valentin, who started the season as the Dodgers' third baseman, hadn't played there since May 2. …Jeff Weaver starts for the Dodgers on tonight in the opener of the series against the Mets.

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