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Braves lose lead(s), third straight

LOS ANGELES - Matt Kemp drove in the go-ahead run for the second game in a row, pulling the Los Angeles Dodgers back into a virtual tie for first place in the NL West.

Kemp followed his tiebreaking two-run homer in the series opener with a clutch single in the seventh inning on Tuesday night, and Wilson Betemit was 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs against his former team to help beat the Atlanta Braves 7-6.

With one out in the seventh, Jeff Kent legged out a double with a headfirst slide that just beat the throw from center fielder Andruw Jones. Kent advanced to third on a great play by rookie second baseman Yunel Escobar, who robbed Luis Gonzalez of a likely RBI single up the middle and threw him out.

Tyler Yates relieved Wilfredo Ledezma (0-1) and Kemp singled to center on a 3-2 pitch to score Kent, helping put the Dodgers a season-high 12 games over .500 (48-36).

"I guess I'm getting in a little groove and I'm feeling good at the plate," said Kemp, who is hitting .397 with three homers and 10 RBIs since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on June 8. "I have some at-bats under my belt and I have a lot more confidence now."

D.J. Houlton led a procession of four pitchers out of the Dodgers' bullpen, and they combined to limit the Braves to an infield single over the final six innings.

Rudy Seanez (5-1) pitched a perfect seventh for the win. Jonathan Broxton pitched a hitless eighth, and first-time All-Star Takashi Saito got three outs for his 23rd save in 24 chances.

"Saito looked to me like he's impossible to hit," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said.

Brian McCann homered and had three RBIs for the Braves, who remained four games behind the New York Mets in the NL East.

"It's frustrating, because we realize we could have been only a couple of games out right now," right fielder Jeff Francoeur said.

Neither starting pitcher made it past the third. Atlanta's Kyle Davies was charged with five runs, six hits and two walks in two-plus innings. The right-hander, who lost his previous four starts and came out of his last one on June 23 with a sore left oblique muscle, has allowed 20 ERA runs in 22 1-3 innings over his last five outings for an 8.06 ERA.

"It was just one of those nights where he didn't have it," Cox said. "His fastball wasn't working for location or velocity. He's just rusty, I guess. He hasn't pitched in a long time. We gave him six runs in three innings and he just couldn't get anything going."

Neither could Dodgers lefty Randy Wolf, who gave up six runs, five hits and four walks before he was lifted because of tenderness in his shoulder after three innings. Wolf, who tied a career high with six walks last Thursday in a 9-5 win at Arizona, again had control problems that led to three runs in the third for the Braves and a 6-3 lead.

"We knew that we had to get as many as we could off of Wolfie _ because once their relievers come in, they're tough," Francoeur said, adding that he thinks the Dodgers' bullpen is one of the best in the game, along with the Padres'.

Francoeur put Atlanta ahead 4-3 with an RBI double after walks to Edgar Renteria and Jones. An intentional pass to Matt Diaz loaded the bases before Wolf walked McCann to force in a run. Jarrod Saltalamaccia capped the rally with a sacrifice fly.

The Dodgers tied it in the bottom half on Betemit's two-run double off Oscar Villareal and an RBI single by pinch-hitter Andre Ethier.

Atlanta grabbed a 3-1 lead with three runs in the second. Jones _ hitting just .199 coming into the game _ doubled and scored on a single by Diaz. McCann then drove a 2-2 pitch into the right field pavilion for his eighth homer.

The Dodgers tied it in the bottom half on Betemit's towering home run to right-center field, which followed a leadoff double by Kemp. Betemit, whom the Dodgers obtained from Atlanta last July, has hit three of his nine homers this season against the Braves _ all of them coming in his first career six at-bats against them.

Notes:Wolf is scheduled for an MRI on Thursday. ... Davies hit a drive to the warning track in the third that was caught by in the RF corner by Matt Kemp, leaving the bases loaded. Davies has recorded the last two home runs hit by Braves pitchers, one of them coming against Wolf last Sept. 13 in the first game of a doubleheader sweep by the Phillies in Atlanta. ... Dodgers head athletic trainer Stan Conte will serve as trainer for the NL All-Star team next week at San Francisco, where he spent 15 seasons with the Giants' staff and the last seven as head athletic trainer and physical therapist.

Braves sign 16-year-old 

The Atlanta Braves have signed a 16-year-old pitcher from Colombia who was rated as the top available international free agent.

Baseball America ranks right-hander Julio Teheran, who signed with the Braves on Tuesday, as the top international free agent.

The 6-foot-2 Teheran throws a fastball timed at 90 to 93 mph, but some scouts say his best pitch is his changeup.

Johnny Almaraz, the Braves' director of Latin American operations, called Teheran a "very significant signing" for the team.

"He has outstanding makeup and the combination of his pitching ability and the quality of his pitches made him one of the top pitching prospects we've seen in a while," Almaraz said.

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