Braves rally in 9th as Dodgers collapse again

ATLANTA (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Dodgers' inability to close games out cost them another win on Monday when they squandered a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves.

The Dodgers (60-59) stripped Jonathan Broxton of his closer role last week after several blown leads, but replacement Kuo Hong-chih fared no better.

Down 3-1 to begin the ninth, the Braves loaded the bases against Kuo, who was then replaced by Octavio Dotel.

Atlanta pinch-hitter David Ross drew a bases-loaded walk to score a run before Melky Cabrera lined a hit through the infield to bring home two more, giving the National League East-leading Braves (69-49) their fifth win in six games.

"Even though we haven't been playing well, you have to be shocked by the results there," Dodgers manager Joe Torre told reporters.

Los Angeles also surrendered a 9-2 eighth inning advantage in a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies last week.

With the score tied at 1-1, the visiting Dodgers took the lead in the eighth after a throwing error by Braves third baseman Brooks Conrad allowed two runs to score.

Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley was in line for the win after striking out eight and allowing just one run over seven innings.

Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson also allowed one run over seven innings pitched, but reliever Peter Moylan got the win after working the ninth.

"We're just a team that fights," Ross said after Atlanta's 20th win this season on their last at-bat. "We're in first place for a reason."

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)