Nearly perfect Kuroda one-hits weary Braves

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Associated Press / July 8, 2008

Hiroki Kuroda took a perfect game into the eighth inning and settled for a one-hitter, leading the Dodgers to a 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves last night in Los Angeles.

The win moved the Dodgers in a tie for first in the NL West with idle Arizona.

Kuroda (5-6) retired the first 21 batters before Mark Teixeira lined the righthander's 70th pitch into the right-field corner for a double leading off the eighth. He was the only Atlanta base runner.

The Braves flew across the country after waiting through a 1-hour, 50-minute rain delay in a 7-6, 17-inning victory over Houston Sunday in the longest game ever at Turner Field.

Kuroda was attempting to become the first Dodger to throw a no-hitter since countryman Hideo Nomo did it on Sept. 17, 1996, a 9-0 win at Colorado. Kuroda, 33, signed with the Dodgers in December as a free agent after 11 seasons with Hiroshima of the Japanese Central League. He threw 91 pitches and struck out six.

Jose Campillo (3-4) took a one-hitter into the fifth before the Dodgers scored their runs. The righthander walked James Loney to open the inning, and Nomar Garciaparra drove a 1-2 pitch into the bullpen in left one out later for his second homer of the season. Matt Kemp added an RBI single later in the inning.

The closest the Braves came to a base runner before Teixeira's hit was in the seventh, when Gregor Blanco dropped a bunt to the left of the plate on Kuroda's first pitch of the inning. Rookie third baseman Blake DeWitt made a barehanded pickup and threw him out by a step.

Royals 7, Rays 4 - Host Tampa Bay's seven-game winning streak ended when John Buck and Mike Aviles hit 10th-inning homers to lead Kansas City.

Carlos Pena hit a tying solo homer off All-Star closer Joakim Soria in the ninth, but it wasn't enough for the first-place Rays, who finished a seven-game homestand at 6-1.

Billy Butler reached second to start the 10th on a throwing error by Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. Pinch runner Esteban German advanced to third on Mark Teahen's grounder.

After Dan Wheeler (2-4) intentionally walked Ross Gload, Buck lined his fourth homer of the season down the left-field line. Two pitches later, Aviles homered to make it 7-3.

Mets 10, Phillies 9 - Pedro Martínez pitched into the sixth inning, then watched New York give back nearly all of a nine-run lead before holding on to edge host Philadelphia.

David Wright homered and drove in four runs as the Mets built a 10-1 lead going into the bottom of the sixth. But three relievers, including closer Billy Wagner, combined to nearly blow it. The Mets (45-44), who last boasted a winning record on June 5 (30-29), wound up taking three of four games from the Phillies to move within 2 1/2 games of the NL East leaders.

Martínez (3-2) turned in one of his more effective performances of the season by allowing only five hits and two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Philadelphia righthander Adam Eaton (3-7) entered the game with a 5-0 career record against the Mets, but he was touched for 10 hits and eight runs - six earned - in 2 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season.

Angels 9, Rangers 6 - Torii Hunter homered twice, the first capping a six-run second inning, and visiting Los Angeles held on to beat Texas.

Ervin Santana (10-3), who was named an All-Star for the first time, allowed six runs and 10 hits in seven innings. He struck out six in winning for just the second time in six starts. David Murphy and Chris Davis homered off Santana in Texas's five-run fifth that nearly erased an eight-run deficit.

Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 35th save, the most ever before the All-Star break.

Marlins 3, Padres 1 - Jorge Cantu hit a two-run home run off Greg Maddux and that was enough to carry Ricky Nolasco (10-4) and visiting Florida over San Diego.

Maddux (3-7) became the ninth pitcher to reach 350 victories May 10. Since then, he is 0-4 with seven no-decisions, even though he's allowed two or fewer earned runs eight times in that streak.

Rockies 4, Brewers 3 - Ubaldo Jimenez (4-8) allowed three hits in seven innings and won for the third time in his last four starts and Matt Holliday hit his 14th home run - and fourth in four games - to lift visiting Colorado past Milwaukee.

Athletics 4, Mariners 3 - Wes Bankston hit his first career home run and Dana Eveland (7-5) won his third straight decision, helping Oakland end an eight-game home losing skid to Seattle.

Pirates 10, Astros 7 - Nate McLouth and Ryan Doumit each hit home runs and 10 Pirates had at least one hit as host Pittsburgh topped Houston to snap a three-game losing streak.

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