Dodgers ride six-run second inning past Williams, Cubs

CHICAGO (AP) -- D.J. Houlton's wait for run support was a short one Monday night. The Los Angeles Dodgers got him six in the second inning -- more than they had scored in his five previous starts

"I'll take it," Houlton said after getting his first win in two months as the Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 9-6, even though he gave up four solo homers.

"I've been throwing pretty good and then I go out tonight and don't throw so well and still got a win. A win is a win. It's nice," he said.

Jeff Kent drove in four runs for the Dodgers, two with a second-inning single to key the six-run outburst against Jerome Williams that featured five hits, three walks and an error.

"We were taking advantage of the situation," Kent said. "It makes it easier for hitters when a pitcher's not throwing strikes. The kid [Williams] was having a hard time making adjustments and before we knew it, we had a bunch of runs."

Houlton (5-7) won for the first time in nine starts since June 27. The Dodgers had scored only four runs in his five previous starts and just eight in his seven losses.

Jeromy Burnitz homered twice for the Cubs and Nomar Garciaparra and Todd Walker each connected off Houlton, who surrendered seven hits and four runs in 5 2/3 innings.

"He gave up four solo homers and he didn't let it bother him," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "We had a very good second inning with timely hitting. And we took advantage of a mistake."

The Dodgers drove Williams (4-7) out after 1 2/3 innings. He walked three and gave up six runs -- five earned -- and five hits.

"I just didn't make the pitches," Williams said. "When I came out of the bullpen I felt good. I just wasn't locating the ball where I wanted to. I got to concentrate more now."

Jason Phillips and Jayson Werth singled and Jose Cruz Jr. walked to load the bases before Williams walked Houlton on a 3-2 pitch to force in the first run.

Antonio Perez hit a two-run double to right-center that right fielder Burnitz couldn't reach, and Kent delivered a two-run single after a lineout for the second out of the inning. Ricky Ledee
reached on an infield single to short when Neifi Perez couldn't come up with his slow roller, and Kent scored when third baseman Garciaparra fielded Phillips' grounder and threw the ball into right field for an error to make it 6-0.

Burnitz hit his 20th homer in the bottom of the inning, but Kent -- in a 3-for-23 slump entering the game -- doubled in two more in the third off reliever Todd Wellemeyer.

Garciaparra homered in the fourth, his third of the season, and Walker connected for his 10th in the fifth. Burnitz hit his second of the game to lead off the sixth.

"We hit the ball great tonight," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said, adding that his pitching staff's wildness was the difference allowing seven walks.

"The big blow was walking the pitcher. We walked him twice," Baker added.

Burnitz doubled and Garciaparra singled with one out in the eighth off reliever Giovanni Carrara, and the Cubs made it 8-5 when third baseman Jose Valentin fielded Scott McClain's grounder and threw low to second for an error.

Werth hit his seventh homer in the ninth.

Duaner Sanchez got Derrek Lee on a grounder for the final out to earn his fifth save.

Cubs right-hander Kerry Wood made his final appearance of the season, pitching the eighth. He will have season-ending
arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday.

Another sign that the Cubs are just about out of the postseason -- they trail in the wild card by eight games -- was their postgame trade of reserve Todd Hollandsworth to Atlanta for two minor-league pitchers.

Game notes
Burnitz now has 24 multihomer games in his career, including two this season. He has at least 20 homers in eight of the last nine seasons. He missed in 2002 when hit 19 for the Mets ... Ledee left the game in the third with a sore left hamstring and Valentin replaced him, later moving from left to third base. Valentin's 12 homers and 31 RBI against the Cubs are his most against any NL team ... Houlton walked twice and had a sacrifice in his first three plate appearances. ... The Dodgers have won three straight.