WASHINGTON (AP) – Jeff Kent hit one of four homers by the Los Angeles Dodgers, accounting for all their runs in a 5-4 victory over the slumping Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

Jason Phillips, Jason Repko and pinch-hitter Hee-Seop Choi also connected, the first time this season a visiting club has hit more than two homers at Washington. Entering the night, a total of 52 home runs had been hit in 50 games at RFK Stadium, which hadn’t been used for regular-season major league baseball since the Senators left after the 1971 season.

Several Washington players felt vindicated last month when the team remeasured and determined that the outfield gaps were more than 10 feet farther from home plate than originally marked. The Nationals rank last in the big leagues with 73 homers overall, but they’ve had trouble scoring everywhere and by any means. In their last 15 games – of which they’ve lost 12 – never have they scored more than four runs.

And Tuesday’s setback was Washington’s 11th straight in a one-run game. Before that drought, the Nationals surged to the top of the NL East thanks to a 24-8 mark in such contests. Now they’re second in the division and trail Houston in the wild-card standings.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, had lost two straight and four of five to fall 11 games under .500 entering Tuesday.

Jeff Weaver (9-8) left after facing one batter in the seventh inning. He allowed two runs – both on Brad Wilkerson’s triple in the third – and six hits.

Yhency Brazoban pitched the ninth for his 21st save, extending his club record for a rookie. He retired Jose Guillen with a runner on second to end it.

Nationals starter Esteban Loaiza (6-7) gave up three of Los Angeles’ homers, including Kent’s shot on the first pitch of the second inning. That gave Kent 20 homers for the ninth consecutive season – a record for a second baseman.

Repko hit his sixth of the season in the fifth, and Phillips broke a 2-all tie in the seventh with his ninth homer, a two-run shot after Kent doubled.

Choi made it 5-2 in the eighth with his 14th homer this season and the first of his career as a pinch-hitter. It came on reliever Hector Carrasco’s second pitch of the night.

The Nationals scored on Vinny Castilla’s sacrifice fly in the eighth off reliever Steve Schmoll. Then, with runners on the corners and Jonathan Broxton pitching with two outs, the Nationals pulled to 5-4 thanks to an unearned run. Preston Wilson stole second, and Dodgers catcher Dioner Navarro’s throw sailed into center field for an error that allowed Guillen to trot home from third.

Broxton walked Brian Schneider, then got pinch-hitter Carlos Baerga to ground out to end the inning.

Notes: The Dodgers’ four homers tied their season high. … Dodgers SS Cesar Izturis made a diving catch of a line drive by Jose Vidro for the last out of the fifth. … Schneider reached base in all four plate appearances, with two singles to right, a walk and a hit by pitch.

AP-ES-08-02-05 2155EDT


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