ATLANTA (AP) - The Los Angeles Dodgers found an unlikely way to extend their hot streak, leaving manager Don Mattingly struggling to find an explanation.
James Loney's three-run double was the key hit in a five-run seventh inning and the Dodgers rallied after trailing by five runs to beat the Atlanta Braves 8-6 on Friday night.
Andre Ethier added a two-run single in the seventh and Juan Rivera drove in three runs for the Dodgers, who have won five straight and 10 of 11. The Braves led 5-0 after three innings.
``I don't know how to explain it, honestly,' Mattingly said. ``Confidence is big in this game.'
A win seemed unlikely for Los Angeles after Chad Billingsley gave up five runs, three earned, nine hits and three walks in four-plus innings He was pulled after giving up a single to Chipper Jones on his 90th pitch to lead off the fifth.
Hong-Chih Kuo (1-2), who began the night with a 10.61 ERA, pitched two scoreless innings as four Dodgers relievers combined to give up only one run in five innings.
``Our guys were good out of the pen and we crept back in,' Mattingly said.
Javy Guerra earned his 14th save despite giving up a homer to Dan Uggla in the ninth.
Braves rookie Jose Vizcaino, a hard-throwing right-hander who was appearing in his 10th game, was charged with five runs while retiring only one batter. He gave up four hits and two walks while blowing a 5-3 lead in the seventh.
``I think that was the first time he got hit around a little bit,' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``Hopefully he learned from that and got some experience.'
The Braves still lead St. Louis by 8 1-2 games in the NL wild-card race.
. Dodgers rookie shortstop Dee Gordon had three hits, scored three runs and stole two bases after his fielding error in the second led to two unearned runs.
``I feel like I grew a little bit from that play,' Gordon said. ``I was determined to get on base any way I could.'
Atlanta's Brandon Beachy gave up three runs, four hits and three walks in six innings and left with a 5-3 lead. Beachy, pitching one day before his 25th birthday, had seven strikeouts - his fifth straight start with at least seven.
Beachy said he should have done a better job of throwing strikes when given an early 5-0 lead.
``I wasn't as sharp as usual,' he said. ``That happens. I just need to be a little bit better. I was just missing at times, just throwing balls when there was no reason to.'
The Dodgers rallied against Vizcaino (1-1) in the seventh. Three straight singles by Justin Sellers, pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn Jr. and Gordon loaded the bases. Loney followed with his three-run double to right, giving the Dodgers a 6-5 lead.
Vizcaino issued an intentional walk to Matt Kemp before also walking Rivera, again loading the bases. Ethier added a two-run single off Cristhian Martinez.
Including Beachy, the Braves will start rookies in each of the three games against Los Angeles. Left-hander Mike Minor will start Saturday night, and right-hander Randall Delgado will be recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill in for Jair Jurrjens on Sunday.
Jurrjens is having his sore right knee examined by orthopedic specialist Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Colo. The Braves' rotation is also missing right-hander Tommy Hanson, who is on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder.
According to STATS LLC, the last time the Braves started three straight rookie pitchers in one series was Sept. 9-11, 2008, when Jorge Campillo, James Parr and Jurrjens pitched against the Rockies.
NOTES: Bourn stole two bases. ... Minor and Los Angeles RHP Nathan Eovaldi, will pitch in Saturday night's game. Of the six starting pitchers in the three-game series, four are rookies, including all three for Atlanta. ... IF Jack Wilson, acquired by the Braves from Seattle on Wednesday, was activated from the 15-day DL and struck out as a pinch-hitter in the sixth. ... The Braves released SS Julio Lugo. ... Hanson threw two sets of 30 throws from 60 feet before the game and said he ``definitely felt good.'... Mattingly said 3B Juan Uribe, on the 15-day DL since July 24 with a groin strain, is not expected to return this season.
The Associated Press News Service
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