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Lowe leads Dodgers past Braves 2-1
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LOS ANGELES — Derek Lowe took a perfect game into the seventh inning, Matt Kemp homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Braves 2-1 Wednesday night.

Lowe retired the first 18 batters before Gregor Blanco led off the seventh with a clean single to center. Jonathan Broxton replaced Lowe (7-8) after Jeff Francoeur homered in the eighth.

Tim Hudson (9-7) did not permit a runner until James Loney hit a leadoff double in the Dodgers fifth.

Takashi Saito pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 17th save in 20 chances in a game that last exactly 2 hours.

Lowe extended the Dodgers’ streak of exceptional starts.

On Tuesday night, Hiroki Kuroda took a perfect game into the eighth before Mark Teixeira hit a leadoff double. That turned out to be the Braves’ only baserunner.

On Wednesday night, Chad Billingsley held the Braves hitless through the first four innings.

Lowe (7-8) gave up one run, walked two and struck out four in 7 Ã innings. Hudson allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings.

Kemp homered to center, his eighth of the season, with two outs in the sixth. It was only the second hit off Hudson.

Andruw Jones, the former Braves’ All-Star who has slumped in his first season in Los Angeles, singled home a run in the seventh for a 2-0 lead. Usually booed when he comes to the plate, he delivered after an intentional walk.

After Blanco singled in the seventh, he advanced to third on a hit-and-run when Yunei Escobar grounded out. But Lowe then got Chipper Jones on a comebacker to the mound, and ended the threat when Andre Ethier caught Teixeira’s long fly close to the wall in left field.

Loney was stranded after his double. He went to third on Russell Martin’s groundout, but languished there as Hudson retired Jones and Blake DeWitt on grounders to third.

The boos for Jones turned to cheers after his RBI single, then he trotted off the field to more cheers when he slid hard into Atlanta second baseman Kelly Johnson to break up a possible double play on DeWitt’s grounder to shortstop.Notes: Los Angeles 2B Jeff Kent got the night off. ... Don Mattingly will resume his duties as Los Angeles Dodgers hitting coach after the All-Star break. Mattingly, hired as part of new manager Joe Torre’s staff during the offseason, asked to be switched from hitting coach to major league special assignment coach, citing family reasons. Mike Easler, who has filled in as hitting coach on an interim basis, will remain with the Dodgers organization in another capacity. ... Lowe and Hudson were teammates in the 2000 All-Star game in Atlanta, Lowe representing the Boston Red Sox and Hudson representing the Oakland Athletics. ... Hudson, who along with Barry Zito and Mark Mulder formed Oakland’s "Big Three," at the beginning of this decade, became the first member of that trio to reach 2,000 career innings when he retired Kemp on a grounder to shortstop to open the fourth.

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