Dodgers 9, Cubs 8

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—The Dodgers were cruising along with a five-run lead when the Cubs got to their bullpen for seven runs.

Los Angeles responded by returning the favor against Chicago’s bullpen.

Juan Pierre hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the go-ahead run in a four-run eighth and the Dodgers rallied for a 9-8 victory Friday night.

“It was real good to see us win one that nearly slipped away,” manager Grady Little said. “That means a lot and says a lot for our ballclub.”

Jeff Kent homered and drove in four runs for the Dodgers, who blew a 5-0 lead before their late scoring burst lifted them to their third straight win.

In the eighth, pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz and Rafael Furcal had RBI singles, Angel Guzman’s wild pitch scored Luis Gonzalez and Pierre’s sacrifice fly scored pinch-runner Brady Clark to make it 9-8.

“We gave it back to them, but we battled,” Chicago manager Lou Piniella said. “It’s good to see us swing the bats the way we did, but the bullpen didn’t get the job done. We scored off of their bullpen and they scored off of ours. It got a little bit out of hand in the eighth.”

Rudy Seanez (1-0) struck out two in 1 1-3 scoreless innings to get the win and Takashi Saito pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save in as many chances.

“It’s awesome to come back and win like that,” Seanez said. “It just shows our team doesn’t give up.”

Cubs reliever Will Ohman (0-2) failed to record an out, allowing one run and one hit to pick up the loss.

Derrek Lee hit an RBI double in the sixth to cut it to 5-1 and the Cubs scored seven times in the seventh to go in front. Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run double and Mark DeRosa doubled in a run and scored. Jacque Jones, Michael Barrett and Lee also had run-scoring hits in the inning for Chicago.

Barrett scored on third baseman Tony Abreu’s throwing error to give the Cubs an 8-5 lead.

“We tried to just piece together an inning, not try to do too much and put together some runs,” Barrett said. “That seemed to be the ticket for both teams, which are both potent offensive teams. We both put together big innings by getting singles, being pesky and having good solid at-bats.”

Derek Lowe got a no-decision for Los Angeles despite allowing just one run and four hits in six innings. The Dodgers had to use four pitchers to get out of the seventh.

“We know what our bullpen can do for us,” Little said. “They had a rough night. I realize it’s going to happen.”

Ted Lilly lasted just 4 1-3 innings for Chicago, giving up five runs and six hits. He struck out two and walked four.

With two outs in the third, Kent sent an 0-1 pitch from Lilly into the left-field pavilion for his eighth homer of the season, a two-run shot that extended the Dodgers’ lead to 3-0.

Kent drove in two more runs with a double into left field in the fifth that chased Lilly, putting the Dodgers ahead 5-0.

Notes

Dodgers C Russell Martin leads all NL catchers in average (.331), runs scored (31), RBIs (33), stolen bases (eight), walks (21) and hits (51). … Saito has 25 consecutive saves, third-longest active streak in the majors. … Lowe became the fourth active pitcher with 200 starts and 200 relief appearances, joining Atlanta’s John Smoltz, Detroit’s Kenny Rogers and Philadelphia’s Tom Gordon. … Lilly fell one out short of reaching 1,000 innings pitched.

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