James slides Atlanta a win

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VERO BEACH, Fla. -Chuck James is encouraged by his improving slider.

Los Angeles Dodgers' Jason Repko, right, reaches third base safely as Atlanta Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar , left foreground, who was covering the base, waits for the throw from right field during the 5th inning of a spring baseball game between the Braves and the Dodgers, Sunday, March 4, 2007 in Vero Beach, Fla. Waiting to make the call is third base umpire D. Beal.(AP Photo/Rick Silva)
Los Angeles Dodgers' Jason Repko, right, reaches third base safely as Atlanta Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar , left foreground, who was covering the base, waits for the throw from right field during the 5th inning of a spring baseball game between the Braves and the Dodgers, Sunday, March 4, 2007 in Vero Beach, Fla. Waiting to make the call is third base umpire D. Beal.(AP Photo/Rick Silva)

James allowed one run and three hits in two innings to lead the Atlanta Braves past a Los Angeles Dodgers split squad 4-1 on Sunday.

The left-hander threw his slider several times - more than he usually does in an entire game.

"It's definitely coming around and it's actually breaking a little bit this year, so I have been working on location," James said. "It's nice to have that third pitch when your fastball isn't there."

The Braves scored two runs on four hits, including RBI singles by Ryan Langerhans and Martin Prado, in the second inning to take the lead after Dodgers starter Derek Lowe needed just seven pitches to retire Atlanta in the first.

Los Angeles made three errors, two on the left side of the infield and one that led to an unearned run in the fifth inning.

In the Dodgers' first three games, six of their seven errors have been made by the third baseman or shortstop.

"I think it's in the water, but these days shall pass," manager Grady Little said.

Jeff Kent drove in the only run for the Dodgers and finished 2-for-3. Veteran pitcher Joe Mays, who entered in the third inning, allowed one hit in two scoreless innings with one strikeout.

NOTES: Former Braves shortstop Rafael Furcal didn't play in either of the Dodgers' split-squad games because of irritation in his right shoulder. Little said Furcal will take it easy the next few days as a precaution. ... Third baseman Wilson Betemit, another former Brave currently with the Dodgers, is 0-for-7 in three games. He is yet to hit the ball out of the infield.


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