Dodgers 3, Cubs 0
CHICAGO (AP)—The Los Angeles Dodgers were picked up by their pitching— again.
Gagne’s 41st consecutive save is the longest streak to start a season in major league history. He has saved 49 in a row dating back to last Aug. 28, the second-longest streak in big league history to Tom Gordon, who converted 54 saves in a row for Boston from April 19, 1998, to June 5, 1999.
“I don’t think you would rather have anyone else on the mound in a close situation other than him,” said Dodgers left fielder Jeromy Burnitz.
Gagne also extended his scoreless streak to 21 innings, the longest by a Dodgers pitcher this season.
Nomo (14-9) struck out three and walked four. He is 5-1 over his last seven starts, the only loss coming Aug. 1 at Atlanta.
Paul Quantrill pitched a scoreless eighth before giving way to Gagne.
“The bullpen has been phenomenal all year long,” Los Angeles catcher Paul Lo Duca said. “If we get to the bullpen we’re going to win a lot of games.”
The Dodgers have given up three runs or less in 11 of 16 games in August and they have scored five or more runs in just six of those games. Los Angels is 10-6 in that span.
Randall Simon went 1-for-4 in his first game for the Cubs since being acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh on Saturday. He made a diving stop at first base to rob Nomo of a hit and also made an error.
The Dodgers scored twice in the fourth inning on RBI singles from Adrian Beltre and Jolbert Cabrera. The Cubs intentionally walked Robin Ventura to get to Cabrera, who delivered a sharp single to center that brought home Beltre.
Los Angeles added a run in the eighth off Chicago reliever Mark Guthrie. Dave Roberts singled, went to second when a pickoff attempt got by Simon and was sacrificed to third. Burnitz then singled to right to bring him home.
“We got a couple of opportunities and cashed in,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. “We did just enough hitting to win.”
With the win the Dodgers took the three-game series from the Cubs and went 4-2 against Chicago this year. Los Angeles has won 10 of its last 14 games.
The Cubs consistently got men on base but couldn’t push a run across. They stranded runners in each of the first five innings and left nine on overall. Sammy Sosa came up in his first three at-bats with runners on but struck out twice and grounded out.
“Nomo was pitching great today, no question about it,” Sosa said. “We went up there and tried to do what we could, but good pitching is going to stop good hitting and that’s what happened today.”
Chicago had men on first and third with two out in the seventh when Kenny Lofton was caught trying to steal second. He jumped up and protested the call by umpire Chris Guccione.
“That was one of those phantom tags,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “That was a big play in the ballgame.”
Carlos Zambrano (11-9) was effective for Chicago but had his five-game winning streak snapped. It was his first loss since July 13 at Atlanta. He gave up five hits and two runs over seven innings, striking out five and walking three.
The Cubs remain a half-game behind the Astros in the National LeagueCentral. They travel to Houston for a three-game series starting Tuesday.
Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne sang during the seventh-inning stretch, drawing cheers and chants from the crowd. … Simon took an early flight Sundayso he could be in the lineup.