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Cora's catch in fifth ends threat

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Even when the Los Angeles Dodgers were losing
nine times in 10 games, second baseman Alex Cora was steady in the
field and at the plate.

"He's has delivered a lot of clutch hits for us this season
while we've tried to get some other guys going," Dodgers manager
Jim Tracy said. "He's done a terrific job and continues to do
things both offensively and defensively to help us win games."

Cora gave a perfect example Tuesday night. He ignited one big
inning with his bat and snuffed another with his glove in the
Dodgers' 5-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Cora's single sparked a four-run third inning, and his diving
grab with the bases loaded ended Milwaukee's threat in the fifth as
the Dodgers won for just the second time in 11 games.

Milwaukee stranded 12 runners, including eight in scoring
position. Trailing 4-3 in the eighth, the Brewers put a runner at
third with two outs, but Guillermo Mota struck out Junior Spivey to
end the inning, and Eric Gagne pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th
save, his 74th in a row but first since May 12.

That was the longest streak of Gagne's career without a save
since he became the Dodgers' closer in 2002, but he wasn't bothered
by it.

"Not really, I was just eager to get a win," he said.

Miller Park was just the place.

Los Angeles, which has held at least a share of first place in
the NL West since April 14, won its sixth straight game at Miller
Park, where the Dodgers are 8-2 overall.

In four innings, the Brewers' Victor Santos (2-1) gave up four
runs on four hits -- all in the third inning, when catcher Gary
Bennett committed a costly throwing error.

After Cora, who went 3-for-4, led off the third with a
line-drive single over leaping shortstop Bill Hall, Bennett fielded
pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii's soft-rolling bunt and threw the ball into
center field, putting runners at the corners.

Cora got down to second base so quickly that even a good throw
might not have gotten him.

"The ball was only three feet out in front of home plate, if
that," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "For me, it was the right
play. We just threw it low."

And wide right.

"When I came up, I thought I had a chance and I just made a
terrible throw," Bennett said. "And obviously it cost us."

Cesar Izturis and Shawn Green -- moved by Dodgers manager Jim
Tracy from fifth to second in the batting order in hopes of helping
him shake a season-long slump -- followed with RBI singles to right
that skipped through the infield with first baseman Lyle Overbay
holding the runner on.

Milton Bradley's double-play ground ball scored another run, and
Paul Lo Duca added a run-scoring double to make it 4-0.

In the bottom of the inning, the Brewers had a chance to tie it
with one swing, but Geoff Jenkins whiffed on three straight pitches
after Ishii walked the first three batters. Overbay followed with a
sacrifice fly to the track in left-center, scoring one run, but
Brady Clark hit an inning-ending groundout.

Clark's infield single in the fifth scored Spivey from third
base and chased Ishii one out shy of qualifying for a win. Keith
Ginter, who had two doubles already off Ishii, was on deck.

"I think it was the right decision to take me out at that
time," Ishii said. "As pitchers, naturally we like to go longer
into the game. I just think I have to become a pitcher where he can
rely on me, so I can earn his trust."

Ishii, who allowed two runs, four hits and six walks in 4 2-3
innings, was replaced by Jose Lima, who walked Ginter on four
pitches. That loaded the bases for Bennett, who grounded out to
second with Cora's diving play preserving the Dodgers' 4-2 lead.

"In that situation, you just have to knock the ball down,"
Cora said. "Luckily, I made the stop and I had enough time to
throw to first and get the out."

Lima (3-1) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the win although he allowed
Spivey's RBI single in the sixth that made it 4-3. Cora singled off
Matt Wise in the ninth and scored on a single by Izturis.

Game notes
Corey Hart nearly homered in his first major league at-bat
for Milwaukee, hooking a pitch down the left-field line into the
second deck before striking out in the fourth. After the game, he
was sent back to Triple-A Indianapolis so the Brewers could
activate LHP Chris Capuano (thigh) off the DL to start Wednesday
night. ... Dodgers OF Dave Roberts (hamstring) left for a two-day
rehabilitation stint at Single-A Vero Beach.