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Kent's Superman as Dodgers win 10th straight

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jeff Kent returned from the disabled list
with two big hits -- and a first baseman's mitt.

Kent homered, doubled and drove in three runs Monday night, and
the Los Angeles Dodgers extended their winning streak to 10 games
with a 7-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies. The four-time
All-Star second baseman also made 10 putouts in his first start at
first base since last September.

"I was hoping he'd be rusty. He's not," Rockies manager Clint
Hurdle said. "He was going to come off the DL sooner or later, and
he's got some good history against us. There's a handful of guys
like that. It's like a rock in your shoe or a burr in your saddle.
We can't seem to shake him."

Brad Penny (12-5) pitched eight strong innings for the Dodgers
and allowed five hits, including homers by Garrett Atkins and Brad
Hawpe. The All-Star right-hander struck out four, walked none and
helped himself with an RBI double.

"I was throwing a lot of changeups and breaking balls early in
the count," Penny said. "They were hitting the ball decent, but
right at people. And that's always huge for me. Fortunately, I got
a lot of early outs tonight and a lot of great defense behind me."

Penny is 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA in four starts against the Rockies
this season, and 9-2 in 14 career starts with a 2.16 ERA -- the
lowest by any pitcher against Colorado, according to STATS Inc.

"Obviously, Penny has more than had his way with us. He's
dominated us," Hurdle said. "The problem tonight was his
first-pitch strikes. He was shaving corners away. Late in the
count, he was shaving corners in with his breaking ball. He was
just on top of his game."

Penny retired his first 11 batters and was staked to a 4-0 lead
before Atkins drove a 2-0 pitch to left-center for his 17th home
run. Hawpe led off the eighth with his 16th homer, trimming the
Dodgers' lead to 5-2, but J.D. Drew responded with a two-run double
in the bottom half.

"We're doing everything good right now," manager Grady Little
said. "The pitchers have been consistent, both the starters and
relievers, and we've been getting some good, timely hitting. We've
got a different team right now than we had a month ago. There's
some different faces out there and they've made a big difference in
this ballclub."

The Dodgers' winning streak, which is five games shy of the
franchise record set in 1924, began one game after Penny initiated
a heated confrontation with center fielder Kenny Lofton in the
dugout during a 10-3 loss to San Diego. Los Angeles went 1-13
coming out of the All-Star break.

"I think all of us had doubts at that time, but we went through
it and we learned from it," Little said. "They learned it's not
the end of the world. You're going to go through a lot of good
times and a lot of bad ones.

"It was just a matter of everyone doing their job the best they
could and seeing what they could do to make a difference, and it's
paying off. Now we'll just continue to go forward."

Josh Fogg (7-7) allowed five runs, eight hits and four walks in
4 1/3 innings. The right-hander was removed by Hurdle after giving
up a bases-loaded RBI single by Julio Lugo that made the score 5-1.
After crossing the foul line, Fogg crossed the line with plate
umpire Sam Holbrook and was ejected after complaining too strongly
about his call on a previous pitch.

Lofton, who was 3-for-5 with two stolen bases, tripled in the
first inning and scored on Kent's two-out double. The Dodgers made
it 2-0 in the second when Russell Martin singled and came home on
Penny's double into the left-field corner.

Kent, who missed 18 games because of a strained muscle on his
left side, drove in two more in the third with his 10th homer -- one
pitch after a leadoff walk to Drew.

"He's not the most vocal guy, but he leads by the way he
plays," Martin said. "He's a tough player and a tough competitor,
and you just kind of feed off that. And with him back in the
lineup, he's going to help us out a whole lot with his bat. You
could just see that he's locked in. Every swing he took tonight was
perfectly balanced and he was taking good hacks."

Three of the first seven Colorado batters were robbed of hits on
diving plays by three different infielders. Kent smothered Hawpe's
smash up the line in the third and ran to the bag for the out.

"His defense was great," teammate Jason Repko said. "I just
think it's great that he could come out here and just right away be
willing to go there and help the team wherever it's needed."

Game notes
The Dodgers placed OF Ricky Ledee on waivers, and he was
claimed by the New York Mets. Ledee began his big league career in
1998 with the Yankees. ... Dodgers RHP Elmer Dessens was placed on
the DL with a sprained left ankle, retroactive to Aug. 3. ... The
Dodgers have committed only one error during their winning streak.
... Dodgers SS Rafael Furcal was 0-for-5, ending his 13-game
hitting streak.