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Dodgers Fall Again In Extra Innings

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Kelly Johnson’s two-run homerun off of Guillermo Mota (3 - 3) in the tenth inning was the difference in the Atlanta Braves’ (57 - 54) second straight extra-inning victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers (67 - 44.)

The last two nights saw 22 frames played at Dodgers Stadium with no wins to show for the additional effort.

An offensive charge in the last of the tenth fell short when Matt Kemp’s liner up the middle made its way into the glove of Yunel Escobar in a definite SportsCenter highlight.

“I looked behind me and saw that [Yunel] Escobar made a great play, and unfortunately we didn't get the job done,” said Dodgers’ leftfielder Andre Ethier.

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Earning a no-decision, youngster Clayton Kershaw pitched well enough to earn a victory on most nights. In seven strong innings, he didn’t allow a single Brave to cross home plate. The hard-throwing 21 year-old struck out ten ATLiens, and, showing some of his best command of the summer, allowed one hit while walking just one Brave.

“Kershaw took care of what he could control,” said Dodgers’ skipper Joe Torre. “After his last outing, this kid became very determined -- not that he wasn’t determined last outing, but this kid has a lot of heart and certainly you know his ability.”

Also in a seven inning start, Braves’ hurler Kenshin Kawakami, while not matching Kerhaw’s statistical dominance, did not allow a single run. Braves reliever Kris Medlen earned the win to square his record at 3 - 3.

Sparked by Juan Pierre’s pinch hit single, the Dodgers bats came alive verse Rafael Soriano in the last of the tenth. Andre Ethier’s double brought the speedy Pierre across the plate to score the Dodgers’ lone Saturday run. A well-fought at bat earned Manny Ramirez an eventual, intentional walk.

Johnson’s long-shot to right broke a scoreless tie and capped an eventful week for Mota. In addition to losing tonight’s contest, he was a wanted man on Wednesday. After beaning the Brewers’ Prince Fielder, the meaty vegetarian sought out the Dodgers’ reliever for heated post-game chat which never materialized.

One plus for the Dodgers was the return to the big club of third baseman Tony Abreu, who on Friday was an Albuquerque Isotope (AAA.) He reached base twice with a hit and a walk.

Having seen each other five times in the past eight days, these two teams, featuring managers (Joe Torre and Bobby Cox) who combine for over 4,500 wins, meet tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. Answering a commonly asked question from before tonight's game, Eric Stults will take the hill for the Dodgers.

Additional reporting by Jimmy Bramlett