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Kent, Gonzalez pull off rare feat

Times Staff Writer

A stat guru somewhere might have calculated the odds precisely by now. But suffice it to say the chances of the Dodgers hitting consecutive home runs Sunday were as remote as Jose Cruz Jr. getting three consecutive hits.

OK, so both happened in the Dodgers’ 5-4 victory over the San Diego Padres in 17 innings.

Who could have predicted it?

The Dodgers had a grand total of 12 home runs in 810 at-bats when Jeff Kent homered with one out in the third inning. Luis Gonzalez followed with a homer, marking the first time this year two Dodgers have done so in a row.

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At this pace, the Dodgers would hit 91 home runs. For context, consider they ranked next to last in the National League last season with 153.

Not that the Dodgers are losing to the long ball, either. Their pitchers have given up only 14 home runs. Again for context, they led the league last season in fewest homers given up with 152.

As for Cruz, whom the Dodgers released last year when he was batting .233 at midseason, not only did he triple and single twice, he leads the Padres with a .361 batting average.

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For the second time this season, Russell Martin caught a day game after a night game -- and this one lasted nearly as long as two games. The second-year catcher has sat out twice in 25 games, and backup Mike Lieberthal has only 10 at-bats.

Is there a danger of Martin wearing down at this pace?

“He wears down but keeps going,” Manager Grady Little said. “And he keeps going with a lot of intensity. He doesn’t show it a lot.”

The fact that the Dodgers played their chief NL West Division rival over the weekend didn’t figure into Little’s decision.

“When we see that Russell needs a break, that will be the deciding factor rather than who we play,” he said. “In April, May or June, that’s not a consideration. It might be a factor in September.”

Lieberthal was scheduled to catch Tuesday, although Little might reconsider and rest Martin today.

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Third baseman Wilson Betemit’s self-diagnosis of what made him too ill to play Saturday?

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“Chicken wings from room service,” Betemit said. “Bad, man.”

Betemit was not in the lineup Sunday because left-hander David Wells started for the Padres. Little said he plans to start Betemit, who is batting .133, tonight against Arizona.

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The series attendance of 130,448 was a record for Petco Park and included sellouts Friday and Sunday. The previous record of 130,334 also was set with the Dodgers in town, in 2004.... Starting pitcher Derek Lowe reached 1,000 strikeouts in his career in the fourth inning, against Mike Cameron.... Reliever Chin-hui Tsao has not given up a run in 8 1/3 innings since being brought up from triple-A Las Vegas. Tsao has given up one hit and struck out six.... Hong-Chi Kuo threw two innings and Yhency Brazoban pitched one at Las Vegas. Kuo, recovering from shoulder pain, made 30 pitches in his first rehab appearance, giving up one hit and one run and striking out three. Brazoban, making his second triple-A appearance, struck out two and retired the side in order.

steve.henson@latimes.com


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