Cubs 2, Dodgers 1

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CHICAGO (AP)—Mark Prior had his best stuff when he needed it most.

Prior scattered seven hits in his second complete game in a week against Los Angeles as the Chicago Cubs beat the Dodgers 2-1 on Friday.

Prior struck out three of the last four batters he faced and pitched a perfect ninth, striking out pinch-hitter Ron Coomer to end his third complete game of the season.

“I felt a little weak early on,” Prior said. “My pitches weren’t sharp, but the seventh inning on, I got that extra little life on my fastball and extra little bite on my curveball that kind of gave me the strength to go further.”

Sammy Sosa had three hits and drove in two runs as the Cubs won for the fifth time in six games.

“This is our time,” said Sosa. “This is our chance to win the division.”

The Dodgers finally got to Prior in the eighth. Prior hit pinch-hitter Mike Kinkade with a pitch and Dave Roberts followed with a single. Lo Duca hit an RBI single to left, scoring Kinkade and moving Roberts to third. Alou bobbled the ball in left, but third-base coach Glenn Hoffman stopped Roberts at third.

With the 40,188 fans on their feet Prior was able to get out of the inning when Shawn Green popped out and Jeromy Burnitz struck out.

“It was an emotional part, because it’s a big part of the game,” Prior said. “It’s one of those parts in the game where as a starting pitcher you got to see what you can do to keep control and help your team get back in the dugout.”

Making his first start at Wrigley Field since colliding with Atlanta second baseman Marcus Giles on July 11, Prior (11-5) retired 18 of the first 21 he faced, including nine in a row between the fourth and sixth innings. He struck out five and walked none.

Prior and Sosa were impressive against the Dodgers again. On Sunday, Sosa drove in all three runs for Chicago on two homers and Prior pitched a five-hitter to beat the Dodgers.

“Sammy’s pretty good, so he’s going to hurt you,” Paul Lo Duca said. “Mark threw the ball well again today and so be it. They beat us again and what can you do, it’s over with.”

Maso Kida (0-1), making his first career major league start and first appearance with the Dodgers, pitched five innings and allowed two runs and five hits.

Kenny Lofton led off the first for the Cubs with a single off Kida, and Sosa drove in Lofton from first on a double to left-center one out later.

Chicago made it 2-0 when Alex Gonzalez hit a two-out double in the fifth and Sosa followed with an RBI single.

Kida made his first major league appearance since pitching for Detroit at Cleveland on May 17, 2000.

“We got what we hoped we get at least, and then some, from our starting pitcher. Which obviously put us in a position and gave us a chance to actually steal a big game in what looked like , very definitely, a pitching mismatch,”Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.


Actor Russell Crowe and his band—30 Odd Foot of Grunts—sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh-inning stretch. … The Cubs recalled outfielder David Kelton from Triple-A Iowa before the game. … RHP Andy Ashby did make the trip with the Dodgers to Chicago on Thursday night. He has the flu, and is expected to join the team Saturday. … Prior is the second Cubs pitcher this season to throw two complete games against the same team and go the distance in consecutive starts against the same team. Kerry Wood also did July 9 vs. Florida and July 19 at Florida. The last Cub to achieve the featwas Rick Sutcliffe in 1984.

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