ATLANTA (AP) – Olmeda Saenz drove in two runs with a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied past the Atlanta Braves 6-4 Tuesday night.

The Dodgers trailed 4-3 heading to the ninth but quickly erased that deficit against shaky Braves closer Chris Reitsma, who failed to get an out.

Jason Werth hit Reitsma’s first pitch off the wall for a double, and moved to third when Hee-Seop Choi slapped a single to left. Ricky Ledee walked to load the bases.

Saenz, who has 53 starts this season, came up as a pinch-hitter – a good choice considering his .368 average with runners in scoring position. He came through with a single to left, bringing home the tying and go-ahead runs.

Reitsma (3-4) has blown seven of 22 save chances, exposing perhaps the biggest weakness for the first-place Braves. Dan Kolb started out the year as the closer but lost the job to Reitsma, who now appears to be on shaky ground.

For the second straight time, Reitsma’s woes in the ninth cost John Smoltz his 13th win. Oscar Robles added an RBI single off John Foster, giving the Dodgers a two-run cushion.

Giovanni Carrara (7-4) got the win and Duaner Sanchez worked a perfect ninth for his first career save.

Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Rafael Furcal all hit solo homers off Derek Lowe in the first two innings. The Dodgers starter didn’t give up anything else until the seventh.

With the score tied at 3, Braves pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson got things started with a grounder off the glove of second baseman Jeff Kent, who managed to flip the ball to first just as runner was arriving.

Umpire Larry Poncino called safe and the Dodgers protested, still upset over a similar play the previous inning that didn’t go their way. Lowe argued briefly before manager Jim Tracy turned up the heat, earning an ejection from Poncino.

Furcal bunted Johnson to second, and he scored an unearned run on Marcus Giles’ single to right.

Smoltz gave up seven hits and two earned runs in seven innings. He also got a break in the sixth.

Werth singled with one out, stole second and took third on a passed ball. Choi hit a grounder that ricocheted off the glove of first baseman Adam LaRoche, but Giles grabbed it moving over from second and flipped to Smoltz covering.

Choi waved his arms as he crossed the bag, indicating he was safe, but Poncino called out to end the inning and cost the Dodgers a run. Television replays showed Choi’s foot clearly beat the ball.

Dioner Navarro drove in the Dodgers’ first run in the second with a groundout. Kent added an RBI single in the third and wound up scoring an unearned run on Jeff Francoeur’s errant throw from right field.

Notes: Francoeur picked up the first stolen base of his career in the fourth. … Smoltz had six Ks to move past Tim Keefe for 25th on the career strikeout list. The Atlanta right-hander has fanned 2,534 hitters, one more than Keefe, with Jerry Koosman next on the list at 2,556. … Kyle Farnsworth pitched a scoreless eighth for Atlanta in his first appearance since serving a five-game suspension.

AP-ES-08-16-05 2228EDT


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