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Who are those guys? Dodgers rally for fifth straight win, 8-6

September 2, 2011 |  8:20 pm

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No, honest Atlanta, those are the Dodgers. The bankrupt team. Same disappointing group that’s been struggling all season.

Well, at least until lately, when the Dodgers are at minimum competitive and, at best, playing some of the finest baseball in the National League.

Hard to believe?

The latest evidence came Friday night, the Dodgers falling behind 5-0 after three innings, the Braves probably thinking the game was in hand over the sub-.500 Dodgers.

These current Dodgers, however, are on their best roll of the season and it continued in Atlanta, the Dodgers rallying for an 8-6 victory.

It was the Dodgers’ fifth consecutive victory and 10th in their last 11 games. It brought them within three games of .500 for the first time since May 17th.

Since July 6 the Dodgers have quietly, almost mysteriously, gone a highly respectable 30-19.

One of the reasons for their turnaround has been the addition of outfielder Juan Rivera, who drove in their first three runs Friday to start the unexpected comeback.

Then the Dodgers won it with a five-run rally in the seventh inning, when eight consecutive Dodgers reached base. Singles by Justin Sellers, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Dee Gordon off reliever Arodys Vizcaino loaded the bases for the hot-hitting James Loney. Who remained hot, going low to line a bases-clearing double to right field to give the Dodgers a stunning 6-5 lead.

Matt Kemp was walked intentionally and Rivera not intentionally. That brought the call to right-hander Cristian Martinez to face Andre Ethier, who promptly singled in two more runs and the Dodgers had a three-run lead.

That made it easier to overlook a less than inspiring performance by a struggling Chad Billingsley, who lasted only four-plus innings. Billingsley gave up nine hits and walked three. A Gordon fielding error left only three of the five runs he allowed earned.

Hong-Chih Kuo, looking a lot more like the Kuo of last season, earned his first victory of the season with two strong innings. Kuo (1-2) struck out three and gave up one hit.

Javy Guerra gave up a solo home run -- the first of his career -- in the ninth inning to Dan Uggla, but then closed it to pick up his 14th save in 15 opportunities.

MORE:

Dodgers-Braves box score

At their worst, Dodgers have two of the best

Frank McCourt offered $1.2 billion to sell the Dodgers

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas tags out Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez in the third inning Friday night in Atlanta. Credit: Kevin Liles / US Presswire

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