LOS ANGELES (AP) — James Loney hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers snapped the Atlanta Braves' nine-game winning streak with a 5-4 victory on Friday night.
Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami gave up a ground-rule double to Andre Ethier and intentionally walked Manny Ramirez before Loney greeted Eric O'Flaherty with his run-scoring single to center.
Atlanta had tied in the top half of the inning on Yunel Escobar's two-out, two-run double into left-center off Hong-Chih Kuo, who came in after starter Clayton Kershaw faltered.
Kuo (1-1) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the victory and Jonathan Broxton worked a perfect ninth for his 14th save in 16 attempts.
Kawakami (0-8) gave up five runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Kershaw was charged with four runs, three earned, and five hits over 6 2-3 innings, striking out eight and walking five.
One of the key plays for Kershaw came in the sixth. David Ross drew a leadoff walk and Nate McLouth followed with a bunt single that third baseman Jamey Carroll had no play on. Kawakami then came up in an obvious sacrifice situation, but catcher Russell Martin caught Ross leaning too far off second and picked off the former Dodgers catcher.
The Dodgers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first on Ethier's sacrifice fly and Ronnie Belliard's RBI double. They added two more in the second when Rafael Furcal hit a run-scoring triple and scored on Matt Kemp's fly ball to center.
Atlanta came back with two runs in the third. Escobar singled in Martin Prado with two out. Omar Infante then scored when Carroll got distracted by Melky Cabrera's broken bat and misplayed his grounder for an error.
Carroll started at third for the second straight game because of Casey Blake's back spasms. Blake underwent an MRI on Friday and is expected to miss at least another couple of games.
The last time Kershaw and Kawakami squared off against each other was on Aug. 8, 2009, at Dodger Stadium. They each pitched seven scoreless innings and the Braves won 2-1 in 10. That was Kershaw's only other start against Atlanta, and Kawakami's only other start against Los Angeles.
NOTES: The news of former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden's death at age 99 didn't break until after the first pitch, so there was no moment of silence. But Dodgers Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully spoke directly to the crowd after the sixth inning by way of a recorded message on the Diamond Vision, and the crowd of 42,459 gave the beloved Wizard of Westwood a standing ovation. ... The Dodgers and Braves are a major league-best 22-9 since May 1.