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Kent hopes to carry Dodgers to sweep

Kent hopes to carry Dodgers to series sweep

CINCINNATI -- Jeff Kent hasn't been kind to the Reds throughout his 17-season Major League career -- batting .308 against them lifetime -- and he hasn't been much nicer in this series.

The second baseman went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in a 3-1 win over Cincinnati on Tuesday night. He singled in the fourth and scored Los Angeles' first run of the game, singled in the sixth and doubled in the eighth to give the Dodgers an insurance run down the stretch.

That performance raised his batting average nine points, from .243 to .252.

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He went 0-for-3 on Wednesday but reached base when he was hit by a pitch during the first inning.

"You talk about a professional hitter," manager Joe Torre said. "The game really slows down for him, because he has such good at-bats. I don't care what his batting average is or what his numbers are -- when he gets up in situations, he has a pretty good plan."

"He's playing hard -- that's what he does," said Chad Billingsley, who was the beneficiary of Kent's solid performance on Tuesday, notching his first win in five starts. "He knows how to play this game well. He's a veteran guy, and he knows howt to play the game."

Pitching matchup
LAD: LHP Eric Stults (1-4, 5.82 ERA in 2007)
Stults, who is 5-6 with a 3.59 ERA through 14 starts at Triple-A Las Vegas this season, will be making his season debut. He made five starts and 12 appearances for the Dodgers in 2007 and two starts in six appearances in 2006. He was called up to fill the roster spot vacated by Brad Penny, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.

CIN: RHP Aaron Harang (3-9, 4.10 ERA)
Harang followed one of his worst outings of the season with one of his best in a win over the Red Sox on Friday night. He pitched seven innings and gave up just one run on four hits, with no walks and seven strikeouts. He had been winless in his last five starts. Harang is 2-3 with a 4.13 ERA lifetime through five games against the Dodgers. He was 1-0 in one start against them last season, giving up just four hits with no earned runs in eight innings of work.

Tidbits
Nomar Garciaparra and his strained left calf are eligible to return from the disabled list on June 25. Though that appeared likely, there is now some question after he woke up on Wednesday morning and something "didn't feel right" in his leg, Torre said. Garciaparra went 1-for-2 with a home run and a strikeout for Las Vegas on Tuesday but was scratched from Wednesday's lineup. Torre had planned for Garciaparra to make several more rehab starts before he returns, but now it's unclear when his next start will be. ... The Dodgers on Wednesday signed third-round Draft pick Kyle Russell and fifth-round pick JonMichael Redding. ... Thursday was the seven-year anniversary of outfielder Juan Pierre's first Major League home run, which came off the Dodgers Jose Lima against the Astros in Houston. ... Right fielder Andre Ethier recorded his seventh three-hit game of the season on Wednesday.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• PRIME-HD

On radio
• KABC 790, KHJ 930 (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 0-1, 3.75) vs. Indians (Cliff Lee, 10-1, 2.55), 7:40 p.m. PT
• Saturday: Dodgers (Chan Ho Park, 2-2, 2.95) vs. Indians (C.C. Sabathia, 5-8, 4.26), 12:55 p.m. PT
• Sunday: Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 5-7, 3.54) vs. Indians (Paul Byrd, 3-7, 5.21), 1:10 p.m. PT

Brandon Harris is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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