CHICAGO (AP)—A new pitching angle paid off for Derek Lowe on Wednesday.
Lowe (9-13) threw a one-hitter for his second shutout and complete game of the season, leading Los Angeles over the Chicago Cubs 7-0.
In his previous start, a 2-1 loss to Houston last Friday, the right-hander moved from the third-base side of the mound to the first-base side. From that position, Lowe was dominating against Chicago.
He gave up an infield single leading off the first to Jerry Hairston Jr., who beat a bouncer to third without a throw from Mike Edwards. Lowe faced just 29 batters, allowing his only other runners on walks to Michael Barrett in the third and Jeromy Burnitz in the seventh.
“Derek Lowe was obvious the show today,” Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy said. “One chopped, two-strike swing from a no-hitter. That’s basically what it boiled down to today.”
Lowe struck out seven to win for the first time in five starts since Aug. 5.
“When we hit it hard, it was right at somebody,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “He got strike one low and away. He had good stuff today.”
It was the third career shutout and complete game for Lowe, who pitched a no-hitter for Boston against Tampa Bay on April 27, 2002. His other complete game this year was a three-hit shutout against San Diego on April 15.
“From the third-base side, I wasn’t able to consistently get the ball inside,” Lowe said. ‘We thought we’d just take a shot, I can’t tell you the difference, not just the results, but the feel of being able to command the outer half (of the plate) against right-handers and inside for left-handers. It’s fun to be able to go out there and feel like you have a better chance of having success.”
Over the course of the season, Lowe also has changed his grip on the ball so the seam doesn’t rub against his thumb, which has had a blister.
“Changing the way I throw, so I don’t have that stupid blister problem, has made a big difference,” he said. “I just took my thumb and put it in the middle of the ball so there’s no seam running over it.”
NL batting leader Derrek Lee struck out twice, left in the sixth inning and went for X-rays on his left foot, which were negative. He was struck by a foul ball in his second at-bat.
Cruz had a single, double and triple in Los Angeles 11-hit attack. Every Dodger starter had a hit except shortstop Oscar Robles.
Glendon Rusch (5-8) lost his sixth straight decision since June 2, allowing seven runs and seven hits in two-plus innings. Michael Wuertz, Scott Williamson, Jermaine Van Buren and Will Ohman combined for four-hit shutout relief.
“I put us in a hole, and with the way Derek threw today, we had no chance after that.” Rusch said.
Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead in the second on Cruz’s RBI single and Werth’s two-run bloop single to short center.
Saenz homered in the third after Jeff Kent’s infield single, Phillips singled and Edwards walked, finishing Rusch.
Cruz tripled in two runs off Wuertz, which were charged to the starter, putting the Dodgers ahead by seven, before Wuertz struck out three straight batters.
Cubs RHP Kerry Wood had athroscopic surgery Wednesday in Sharonville, Ohio to clean out his right shoulder. The hour-long operation included reinforcement of the labrum, as well as a removing dead tissue from the rotator cuff and bursa. Wood is expected to begin rehab next week. … Nomar Garciaparra started his sixth straight game at third base in place of injured Aramis Ramirez … The Dodgers won two of three to take their fourth straight series at Wrigley Field. … Dodgers RHP Brad Penny began a five-game suspension on Wednesday for arguing with umpire Rob Drake on Aug. 14. … RHP Giovanni Carrara returned to Los Angeles after learning that his 2-year-old son had convulsions.