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Perez took no-hitter into sixth inning

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Odalis Perez never considered tossing a
no-hitter, even while retiring batters so easily it seemed like a
real possibility. The only zero he wanted was in Philadelphia's run
column.

Perez took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and Jeff Kent drove
in the only run in the first, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers over
the Phillies 1-0 Thursday.

"It's a great game for us to win," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy
said.

Perez (5-5) completely stymied the Phillies, jamming
left-handers all game with near-impeccable control. Making his
fourth start since coming off the disabled list after missing 46
games because of soreness in his pitching shoulder, Perez was as
sharp as he's been all year, getting his changeup consistently over
for strikes as he matched his longest outing of the season.

"[He] resembled the pitcher I saw here in 2002," Tracy said.
"That's the guy that we saw that was a big part of the rotation in
2002. By far and away it was the best game he's pitched all year."

Perez went 15-10 in 2002 and pitched the only two shutouts of
his eight-year career. There was no shutout against the Phillies,
but there were five no-hit innings, something the left-hander is
familiar with.

Four times in four seasons with the Dodgers, Perez has taken a
no-hitter into the seventh.

"I don't think too much about no-hitters. I've been through
that," he said. "I've been through that five, six times already
and I didn't come out with no-hitters. One day I will get it. I've
been getting close."

Perez tossed three-hit ball over seven innings, walked none and
matched his season high with seven strikeouts while winning for the
first time in nearly three months.

"We've had trouble with lefties all year," Phillies manager
Charlie Manuel said. "The whole secret is getting a good ball to
hit. Perez pitched like [Tom] Glavine today."

The Phillies threatened in the eighth, getting two on with one
out, but Jimmy Rollins grounded into a double play against Wilson
Alvarez.

Yhency Brazoban pitched the ninth for his 17th save,
successfully rebounding from allowing the winning homer to Ryan
Howard in the 10th inning two nights earlier. Brazoban, pitching
for injured closer Eric Gagne, tied the Dodgers rookie saves record
set by Steve Howe in 1980.

"There is no closer in baseball that's perfect, though we lost
one that is as close to being one as there is," Tracy said.

Perez had his no-hit bid spoiled when Endy Chavez hit a hard
one-hopper that bounced over first baseman Olmedo Saenz's head
leading off the sixth. The speedy Chavez stole second and moved to
third on a sacrifice, but was left stranded.

After Perez struck out Jason Michaels looking to end the inning,
the right fielder tossed his bat and was immediately ejected by
plate umpire Rob Drake.

Michaels missed the end of a dazzling performance from Jon
Lieber, who pitched one of his best games since slumping after a
5-1 start. Lieber (9-9) retired his last 13 batters and struck out
a season-high seven overall, giving up just five hits and walking
one.

Two of those hits came in the first inning, though, and that was
enough to win just the second 1-0 game in Citizens Bank Park's
two-year history. Oscar Robles doubled down the right-field line to
open the game and scored two batters later on Kent's double down
the left-field line.

"That's a very tough loss," Lieber said.

Perez, who was 0-4 in his last six starts and won for the first
time since April 29, coolly took over from there.

Michaels was the only Phillies batter to get on base through the
first five innings, reaching in the first on a wild pitch after he
struck out. He also walked in the fourth.

Perez got out of a jam in the seventh when David Bell tried to
go from first to third on Ryan Howard's two-out single, but was
thrown out by center fielder Jason Repko.

"I kind of pulled up on that one and I was surprised to see
Bell going," Repko said.

For one of the few times the year, the Dodgers got all the
breaks.

"The last couple of days when we've needed a big play or big
hit, somebody's come through," catcher Mike Rose said.

Game notes
Bobby Abreu did not start and walked pinch hitting for
Lieber in the eighth. Abreu has been in a horrible slump since
hitting 41 homers to win the Home Run Derby, going 3-for-21 with
two RBI and no home runs. Plus, Abreu was 2-for-23 against Perez.
... Phillies minor league LHP Cole Hamels has back spasms and will
miss Sunday's start for Double-A Reading. Hamels, considered the
organization's top pitching prospect, felt soreness after his last
start Tuesday and will see a spine specialist next week. ...
Philadelphia beat Washington on July 9 in the other 1-0 game at its
ballpark.