Gary Sheffield hit his major league-leading 37th home run and Darren Dreifort won his career-high sixth consecutive decision Sunday as the Los Angeles Dodgers avoided a three-game sweep by beating the Atlanta Braves 7-2.
Todd Hundley and Shawn Green also homered, and Tom Goodwin went 3-for-5 with a two-run single off Andy Ashby (8-9) for the Dodgers, who won for only the second time in eight games.
The win cut Atlanta's lead in the NL East to 1 1/2 games over the New York Mets, who beat San Francisco 2-0. It's the closest the Mets have been to the Braves since July 6 when Atlanta also held a 1 1/2-game lead.
Dreifort (10-7), who was 1-6 with a 6.94 ERA in his career previously against the Braves, needed 101 pitches to make it through five innings but got the win.
He gave up one unearned run, nine hits and two walks, but stranded nine Braves runners. Atlanta had at least one man in scoring position in each of his five innings, but Dreifort escaped.
The only run off Dreifort came in the first inning when Rafael Furcal led off with a single and Andruw Jones reached first on an error by thirbaseman Adrian Beltre. Chipper Jones hit into a double play, and B.J. Surhoff tripled Furcal home.
Ashby held the Dodgers to only one hit through four innings before Goodwin's two-out, two-run single in the fifth gave Los Angeles a 2-1 lead.
Sheffield opened the sixth with his homer to center on an 0-2 pitch, and two outs later, Hundley hit his 19th home run into the right-field stands.
Ashby allowed four runs and six hits in six innings.
The Dodgers added a run in the seventh off Terry Mulholland on an RBI single by Shawn Green who also hit his 22nd home run, a two-run shot in the ninth, off Stan Belinda.
Mike Fetters gave up an RBI single to Keith Lockhart in the eighth.
Notes The Braves stranded 12 runners overall. Atlanta RF Brian Jordan was scratched with soreness in his left ankle. He was replaced by George Lombard. The Braves finished the season 7-2 against the Dodgers, including 5-1 at Turner Field. Sheffield, who has struck out only 56 times all season, had seven in the three-game series. Surhoff's triple extended his hitting streak to eight games. Dreifort knocked down a bouncer by Surhoff with his pitching hand in the third, but after shaking his hand several times, then throwing three warmup throws, remained in the game.
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