LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers usually come out on the short end in games decided by two runs or less. Not this time.
Antonio Perez drove in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded grounder in the sixth inning and the Dodgers rallied to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 on Friday night, snapping their six-game losing streak.
Nine of the Dodgers' previous 11 defeats had been decided by two runs or less, and have helped stifle their bid for a playoff berth with nine games remaining.
"There's still some stuff to play for, you know, pride and everything," winning rookie pitcher D.J. Houlton said. "I've never been in a situation like this before. It's tough."
The Pirates lost their fourth in a row and are an NL Central-worst 62-92.
Houlton (6-9) earned the victory, giving up two runs and four hits, striking out five and walking none in six innings.
"I just threw the majority of my pitches for strikes, instead of the last couple times I was out there struggling," he said. "I was just going after them with all my pitches."
Duaner Sanchez pitched the ninth and converted his seventh straight save opportunity. He gave up Jason Bay's 31st homer with one out that made it 4-3.
"Our bullpen did a very nice job following up a fine job by Houlton," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "We did some things with two outs and runners in scoring position."
Rookie Paul Maholm (2-1) took the loss, allowing four runs and seven hits, striking out three and walking four in 5 2/3 innings.
The Dodgers batted around in the sixth, when they scored three runs to take the lead.
Dioner Navarro doubled, Mike Edwards walked and then Jayson Werth tied the game 2-2 with a run-scoring single.
Navarro's offense and the way he's handled the pitching staff behind the plate has impressed Tracy.
"What he's done offensively in the time that he's been here has gone beyond what our expectations would have been of him coming up here for the first time," Tracy said. "This is obviously a guy to start thinking about very seriously."
After the game, Navarro went to the bedside of his son who has been hospitalized since being born earlier this month.
"For him to come out and catch, concentrate nine innings and then go out there and actually get a hit, that's really amazing," Houlton said. "I really respect the guy for coming out here and playing like that when he's got everything going on in his life."
Maholm hit Willy Aybar to load the bases with two outs. Perez grounded to third baseman Rob Mackowiak, who dived for the ball and it hit off his glove, rolling into foul territory. Edwards scored for a 3-2 lead.
Jose Mesa replaced Maholm and gave up a bases-loaded walk to Jeff Kent without throwing a strike, extending the Dodgers' lead to 4-2.
Freddy Sanchez hit a two-run homer into the Dodgers' bullpen in left field with two outs in the third, putting the Pirates ahead 2-1.
The Dodgers led 1-0 on a run-scoring single by Olmedo Saenz with two outs in the first.
The victory was the Dodgers' 25th in 31 games against Pittsburgh during Tracy's tenure. They've won 16 of their last 18 against the Pirates. ... Aybar doubled in the first inning, giving the Dodgers 268 two-base hits this season, second-highest in team history. The record is 286 in 2002. ... Aybar's double gave him at least one hit in 12 of his 13 major league starts. ... Kent notched his team-leading 105th RBI with the bases-loaded walk in the sixth. He is two short of breaking his own major league record of 107 for a second baseman age 36 or older, which he set last season with Houston. ... The Pirates are 7-11 since Pete Mackanin replaced the fired Lloyd McClendon as interim manager on Sept. 6.