LOS ANGELES -- When Ryan Langerhans homered to open the eighth inning, just about everyone at Dodger Stadium believed all it did was provide the Atlanta Braves with another run in a one-sided victory.
It turned out to be the difference on opening day.
Adam LaRoche and Andruw Jones hit three-run homers off Derek Lowe to stake Atlanta to a big lead Monday, and the Braves held on to beat the Dodgers 11-10 to spoil manager Grady Little's debut and disappoint a turnout of 56,000 -- the largest single-game regular-season crowd in Dodger Stadium history.
"When I hit it, that was the furthest thing from my mind -- that that would be the run that held up," said Langerhans, who hit Franquelis Osoria's first pitch over the right-field fence. "The first three at-bats, I was a little jumpy. He got a two-seamer up I could hit. I was just happy to have a good swing, hit one out of the park on opening day."
The Braves, beginning their quest for a 15th straight division championship, led 11-5 after Langerhans' homer. The Dodgers scored three in their half of the eighth and two in the ninth before Chris Reitsma, the seventh Atlanta pitcher, got the final out.
"It was a struggle on both sides," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "The long ball always helps. We didn't hit particularly great and we pitched super all spring. It was the other way around today."
Tim Hudson, making his fourth opening-day start, entered with an 87-4 record in 112 outings when he's received at least four runs of support. The Braves staked Hudson to a 4-0 lead before he threw a pitch, and led 8-1 before the 30-year-old right-hander was chased in the fifth.
Oscar Villarreal worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the victory. Reitsma, who got the final four outs, survived the two-run ninth to earn a save.
"There was a lot of excitement in that ballgame out there today," Little said. "Our kids kept coming back."
Regarding Lowe, Little said: "He's had better days than today, and he'll have many more."
Marcus Giles singled to start the game, and one out later, Chipper Jones hit what appeared to be a double-play grounder to second. But Kent booted the ball for an error, Andruw Jones followed with an RBI single, and LaRoche hit a 1-2 pitch over the right-field fence for a three-run homer.
The season was five minutes old, and the fans were already booing the new-look Dodgers, who made numerous changes following their second-worst season since moving from Brooklyn in 1958.
Kent hit an RBI single in the third, but the Braves scored another four in the fifth to take an 8-1 lead and knock out Lowe. Chipper Jones hit an RBI single and, after Little visited the mound, Andruw Jones hit Lowe's first pitch into the left-field bleachers for his three-run homer.
"It was a struggle from the first batter to the end of the fifth," said Lowe, who gave up nine hits and eight runs, seven earned, in five innings. "My job is obviously not to put us in such a big hole. You look forward to this game for so long and then you go out there. ... I didn't really have that many competitive pitches."
The Dodgers scored four times to chase Hudson in the fifth. He gave up six hits and five runs in four-plus innings.
"I got some balls up," Hudson said. "I wasn't great today -- it was a battle. We don't want to play too many games like this. The important thing is, it's a win."
The Braves' 14 straight division championships is a major league record, and they've won them all with John Schuerholz as general manager and Bobby Cox as manager. Atlanta moved from the NL West to the NL East in 1994, and is the only team to win that division since then.
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|Marcus Giles, 2B||3||2||2||0||1||0||1|
|Edgar Renteria, SS||5||1||2||2||0||1||2|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||3||2||1||1||2||0||0|
|Andruw Jones, CF||4||2||2||4||1||1||3|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||5||1||1||3||0||1||2|
|Jeff Francoeur, RF||5||0||0||0||0||1||1|
|Brian McCann, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|Ryan Langerhans, LF||4||1||1||1||0||0||1|
|Tim Hudson, P||2||1||1||0||0||0||0|
|Lance Cormier, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|a- Brian Jordan, PH||0||1||0||0||1||0||0|
|Mike Remlinger, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Oscar Villarreal, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|b- Pete Orr, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|Blaine Boyer, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|John Thomson, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Chris Reitsma, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|a-walked for Cormier in the 6th|
|b-singled for Villarreal in the 8th|
|2B - Edgar Renteria (, Brazoban)|
|HR - Andruw Jones (, Lowe), Adam LaRoche (, Lowe), Ryan Langerhans (, Osoria)|
|SH - Marcus Giles ()|
|RBI - Edgar Renteria 2 (), Chipper Jones (), Andruw Jones 4 (), Adam LaRoche 3 (), Ryan Langerhans ()|
|2-OUT RBI - Edgar Renteria 2 ()|
|Team LOB - 4|
|E - Marcus Giles (, throwing error), Andruw Jones (, Misplayed grounder), Chipper Jones (, misplayed grounder)|
|Oscar Villarreal (W,-)||1.1||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|John Thomson (H,)||0.1||1||0||0||0||1||0|
|Chris Reitsma (S,)||1.1||2||2||2||0||1||0|
|HBP - Kent (by Oscar Villarreal)|
|WP - Tim Hudson 2 ()|
|Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 83-46, Lance Cormier 19-12, Mike Remlinger 11-8, Oscar Villarreal 14-8, Blaine Boyer 19-11, John Thomson 5-5, Chris Reitsma 14-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 8-2, Oscar Villarreal 2-3, Chris Reitsma 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 22, Lance Cormier 5, Mike Remlinger 3, Oscar Villarreal 7, Blaine Boyer 5, John Thomson 2, Chris Reitsma 6|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Rafael Furcal, SS||5||3||3||0||1||0||2|
|Jose Cruz Jr., LF||6||3||4||0||0||0||2|
|J.D. Drew, RF||6||2||2||2||0||0||3|
|Jeff Kent, 2B||4||1||2||4||1||0||2|
|Olmedo Saenz, 1B||6||1||1||2||0||3||7|
|Bill Mueller, 3B||4||0||2||1||1||0||0|
|Sandy Alomar Jr., C||5||0||1||0||0||1||3|
|Jason Repko, CF||5||0||2||1||0||0||1|
|Derek Lowe, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||1|
|a- Cody Ross, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|Hong-Chih Kuo, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Yhency Brazoban, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|b- Ricky Ledee, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|Franquelis Osoria, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|c- Dioner Navarro, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||2|
|Danys Baez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|a-popped out for Lowe in the 5th|
|b-flied out for Brazoban in the 7th|
|c-struck out for Osoria in the 8th|
|2B - Jose Cruz Jr. (, Reitsma), Jeff Kent (, Hudson), Jason Repko (, Thomson)|
|RBI - J.D. Drew 2 (), Jeff Kent 4 (), Olmedo Saenz 2 (), Bill Mueller (), Jason Repko ()|
|2-OUT RBI - Jeff Kent (), Jason Repko ()|
|Team LOB - 13|
|DP - Furcal-Kent-Saenz, Saenz-Furcal, Mueller-Kent-Saenz|
|PB - Sandy Alomar Jr. ()|
|E - Jeff Kent (, misplayed grounder)|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Derek Lowe (L,-)||5||9||8||7||1||2||2|
|Pitches-Strikes - Derek Lowe 69-50, Hong-Chih Kuo 21-10, Yhency Brazoban 32-20, Franquelis Osoria 8-6, Danys Baez 11-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Lowe 10-2, Hong-Chih Kuo 1-1, Franquelis Osoria 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Derek Lowe 24, Hong-Chih Kuo 4, Yhency Brazoban 6, Franquelis Osoria 4, Danys Baez 4|
|Attendance - 56000|
|Game Time - 3:10|
|Temperature - 64|
|Umpires - Home - Joe West, First Base - Tom Hallion, Second Base - Ed Rapuano, Third Base - Tony Randazzo|