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Dodgers Find Daylight

Beltre, Ventura homer as L.A. returns home on a positive note after defeating Atlanta, 8-4.

August 04, 2003|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

ATLANTA — The mood in the Dodger clubhouse finally turned upbeat Sunday after an 8-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves before 34,930 at Turner Field.

"We needed it. We really needed it and we did it today," said Adrian Beltre, whose three-run home run highlighted a four-run first inning.

"We never thought about losing this game. We started getting some offense from the first inning, and we just kept going."

The Dodgers (55-55) ended a five-game losing streak and finished a disappointing 2-7 trip. Beltre's 10th homer ignited the Dodgers' 10-hit attack -- their most of the trip.

Robin Ventura also hit his first career inside-the-park homer as the struggling Dodgers stunned the Braves (73-38), who have the major leagues' best record. Atlanta second baseman Marcus Giles committed a first-inning error that led to the Dodgers' big opening and four unearned runs off Russ Ortiz (15-5).

The Dodgers also got two hits apiece from Dave Roberts, including a run-scoring triple, Shawn Green and Jeromy Burnitz to provide needed support with emergency starter Scott Mullen on the mound. The 28-year-old left-hander arrived Sunday from triple-A Las Vegas to start for left-hander Kazuhisa Ishii, on the disabled list because of a sprained knee ligament.

Mullen struggled with his nerves and command in his first start in the majors, and the Braves scored three in the first. But Mullen, who walked five, didn't give up another run in a three-inning outing.

"Take away the first inning, and go out there with a little less nerves, I probably go a little longer," said Mullen, designated for assignment after the game. "I've never walked five guys before, especially in three innings, so I'm sure it had something to do with it."

Manager Jim Tracy quickly turned to the majors' top bullpen, and the Braves only got one more run on Gary Sheffield's 27th homer in the seventh against left-hander Tom Martin. Guillermo Mota (3-2) came into the game in the fourth inning and worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the victory that got the Dodgers back to .500.

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