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Kent's homer caps six-run eighth for Dodgers in win

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers turned to their power
when their pitching faltered.

Jeff Kent hit a three-run homer and finished with four RBI to
lift the Dodgers over the Houston Astros 12-7 for their fourth
straight win.

Kent's second homer of the season capped the Dodgers' six-run
eighth inning. Nomar Garciaparra and J.D. Drew also homered against
Houston starter Andy Pettitte, who allowed six runs and eight hits
in five innings.

"It was a great win because everyone got involved,"
Garciaparra said. "We did some little things that created big
things."

Morgan Ensberg, Adam Everett and Jason Lane hit two-run homers
for the defending NL champion Astros, who have lost five straight.

"I've never played a season in the major leagues where you
haven't had to face some sort of adversity and had some kind of a
losing streak like this. But we have enough character guys in here
to be able to overcome it," Lance Berkman said.

"Every year you expect to go through some tough times, and
sometimes they come up unexpectedly. We were playing pretty good
ball, and we've just hit a skid. All you can do is try to fight
through it."

Mike Gallo faced only one batter, giving up a leadoff single by
Kenny Lofton in the eighth. Lofton tried to take two bases on
Russell Martin's bloop single to left against Dan Wheeler (0-2) and
was thrown out at third as Martin took second on the throw.
Pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz lined an RBI single to right to give Los
Angeles a 7-6 lead.

"In that particular situation I didn't try to do too much. I
was just trying to get a single to bring the runner in," Saenz
said. "This is my job and this is my role over here, so I just try
to do whatever I can to help the ballclub win. That's all that
matters to me."

Pinch-runner Andre Ethier scored on Rafael Furcal's hit, Jose
Cruz Jr. drove in another run with a ground-rule double off
Wheeler, and Kent homered two batters later against Dave Borkowski.

Takashi Saito (3-2) pitched a perfect eighth inning for the
victory.

The homers helped the Dodgers overcome a lackluster outing by
teammate Jae Seo, who allowed six runs, eight hits and three home
runs in 3 1-3 innings. The right-hander squandered a 5-2 lead in
the sixth after striking out the side on 15 pitches an inning
earlier.

Lane followed a leadoff single by Preston Wilson with his eighth
homer, and Everett put Houston ahead 6-5 with his second of the
season after a walk to Ausmus. But Los Angeles tied it in the fifth
on Kent's RBI single.

Pettitte, who did not allow more than one home run in any of his
33 starts last season, surrendered consecutive homers by
Garciaparra and Drew during the Dodgers' four-run third.

"They've got a lot of good hitters in that lineup," Berkman
said. "I know they've had some injury problems last year, but even
so, they're vastly improved offensively."

Garciaparra's three-run homer was his first in 51 career at-bats
against Pettitte, who faced the five-time All-Star numerous times
when he pitched for the Yankees and Garciaparra played for the Red
Sox. Garciaparra, who missed the first 17 games of this season
because of a strained muscle, has 17 RBI in his first 15 games as
a Dodger.

Drew hit his seventh into the lower seats in the right-field
corner three pitches after Garciaparra circled the bases.

Ensberg opened the scoring in the first inning with his 10th
homer and first since Apr. 23, ending a 13-game RBI drought. The
two-run shot resulted in an injury to Dodgers center fielder Jason
Repko, who left with a sprained left ankle after scaling the fence
in an effort to catch the ball.

Repko started instead of Lofton, who came in 3-for-26 lifetime
against Pettitte. But Lofton doubled in the second inning, putting
two men in scoring position, and Martin drove in Bill Mueller with
a groundout. Mueller, back in the lineup at third base after
missing three games because of a sore right knee, had reached on an
infield hit.

Game notes
Pettitte has allowed nine homers in 47 2-3 innings, after
giving up 17 in 222 1-3 innings last season. ... The second annual
charity bowling tournament hosted by Dodgers closer Eric Gagne
Monday night in Hollywood raised $85,000 for the Dodgers Dream
Foundation. ... Ensberg, Lane and Eric Munson all played together
at USC in 1998. Ensberg came in 1-for-28 at Dodger Stadium and Lane
was 4-for-17 here, Munson, who spent his entire big league career
in the AL before signing a minor league contract with the Astros in
January, has yet to play at Chavez Ravine. ... The Astros averaged
3.16 runs in Pettitte's other six starts, the third-lowest in the
NL. ... Homers accounted for 10 of the game's first 11 runs.