Melky Cabrera's two-run single off Octavio Dotel with the bases loaded in the ninth inning capped a three-run rally that lifted the Atlanta Braves to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.
Dotel took over for Hong-Chih Kuo (3-2), who failed to protect a 3-1 lead. Kuo gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases.
Dotel walked pinch-hitter David Ross to force in a run. Cabrera then lined the game-winning single past shortstop Jamey Carroll. Scott Podsednik charged the ball in left field but it skipped past his glove, ending any chance for a potential play at the plate.
The first-place Braves moved 2½ games ahead of Philadelphia in the NL East.
Alex Gonzalez and Brian McCann each singled off Kuo to open the ninth. The runners advanced on Kuo's wild pitch.
With one out, Kuo walked Brooks Conrad to load the bases. Dotel came on and walked Ross to force in Gonzalez and set up Cabrera's single.
Peter Moylan (4-2) pitched a perfect ninth for Atlanta.
Los Angeles right-hander Chad Billingsley gave up five hits and one run in seven innings.
Atlanta's Tommy Hanson was equally strong, also giving up five hits and a run in seven innings before the Dodgers took the lead with two unearned runs in the eighth off Jonny Venters with help from a throwing error by Conrad.
Conrad, who has made five straight starts at third base since Chipper Jones' season-ending knee injury, bobbled pinch-hitter Reed Johnson's grounder to open the eighth. The grounder took a bad hop at the edge of the grass, and the initial call of an error was changed to a hit at the end of the inning.
After Scott Podsednik walked, Ryan Theriot hit a soft grounder toward third base. Conrad charged the ball and threw wide of first baseman Troy Glaus for an error, allowing Johnson and Podsednik to score.
Theriot advanced to third base as right fielder Jason Heyward chased down Conrad's wild throw. Cabrera threw out Theriot at the plate on James Loney's fly ball to end the inning.
The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first. With one out, Theriot reached on a single. Theriot, running on the pitch, scored from first on Andre Ethier's double to left.
Billingsley did not allow a baserunner to reach third before Omar Infante ended a nine-pitch at-bat with a triple to center field leading off the sixth. Infante scored when Ethier made a leaping catch of Heyward's drive in front of the right-field wall.
Much of the game was played in rain which began in the fourth inning.
NOTES: Heyward returned after missing a game with swelling in his right knee. ... INF Martin Prado (finger) was to play 2B and 3B in his first injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett and could return from the 15-day disabled list as early as Tuesday. Prado was the starting second baseman before the injury but could move to third base following Jones' season-ending knee injury. ... Torre said he plans to meet with OF Manny Ramirez (right calf strain) in Los Angeles on Tuesday and make plans for a minor league rehab stint. "He's still a threat. He still scares the opposing manager," Torre said of Ramirez.