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Dodgers sweep Cubs, extended road win streak

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Stephen Fife had an upset stomach but not a thing wrong with his arm.

The Dodgers right-hander worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings in Los Angeles' 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday at Wrigley Field.

"I actually felt a little under the weather," said Fife, activated Sunday off the disabled list after recovering from right shoulder bursitis. "I battled through that, my arm felt fresh, my body felt fine. I felt pretty good in general, just go out there and throw enough strikes to make them put it in play."

A.J. Ellis delivered a second-inning single for the game-winning run as Los Angeles (61-49) completed a four-game series sweep and extended its franchise-record road winning streak to 14 games.

The Cubs have lost four straight and seven of their last eight.

The sweep was Los Angeles' first over Chicago since 1988, and the National League West leaders moved 12 games above .500. On June 21, the Dodgers were 12 games below .500. They have gone 31-7 since.

The win was marred by an possible shoulder injury to Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who tumbled over a wall along the third base line in the seventh inning.

"I'm not feeling the back of my shoulder," said Ramirez, who is hitting .361 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs. "it's really sore, and we'll see how it feels tomorrow."

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Ramirez likely would have an MRI exam Monday.

Fife (4-3) scattered seven hits in his first outing since July 6. He struck out five and walked two.

"He's been throwing the ball really good for us before the shoulder thing," Mattingly said. "We really wanted to be able to give our guys an extra day right through this period of time. It felt like it was the right spot (to start him)."

The Dodgers used four pitchers, with Kenley Jansen striking out the side in the ninth for his 17th save.

Cubs right-hander Carlos Villanueva (2-8) saw his winless streak reach 11 starts despite throwing six innings of one-run, two-hit ball.

Villanueva threw 101 pitches and gave up a season-low two hits while walking three and striking out five. His last win came April 18 at Texas.

"I felt pretty good, the last couple of starts I've been able to establish my fastball a little more," Villanueva said. "Today I ran into a little trouble and was able to limit the damage in the second inning, and in the sixth I was able to get out of that one.

"We ran into a hot team, and when those teams are like that, they win the slugfest and they win the close games."

The game's lone run scored when Ramirez walked to lead off the second inning, advanced to second on a walk to Andre Ethier and scored on Ellis' single to right.

The Cubs threatened in the first inning with leadoff batter David DeJesus at third base after a Dioner Navarro double. However, Nate Schierholtz grounded to second to leave him stranded.

DeJesus was perched on third again in the third inning after a one-out single and Anthony Rizzo's double to center, but Navarro grounded out to end the inning.

Fife was strong until the sixth, when he gave up back-to-back singles to Navarro and Schierholtz with no outs and a one-out base hit to rookie Logan Watkins to load the bases.

Right-hander Chris Withrow quelled the rally as shortstop Donnie Murphy popped up to short left and pinch hitter Cole Gillespie grounded to first.

"We didn't have a whole lot going on (offensively), but we had bases loaded with one out and didn't get the job done again," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.

In the seventh, Ramirez chased and caught a DeJesus foul ball before falling head first into the stands. He was helped off the field with an apparent injured right shoulder and was replaced by Nick Punto.

"Injuries are going to happen," Mattingly said. "Right now you just hope it's nothing that's long-term. ... You just hope it's not season-ending or a month and a half and throws a monkey wrench into what's going on."

NOTES: The Cubs placed INF Luis Valbuena on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday with a right oblique strain and recalled Watkins from Triple-A Iowa. Watkins was inserted in Sunday's lineup for his first major league start, and he went 1-for-4. ... Chicago is 31-32 since May 26 but is 1-8 in its last eight games. ... The Cubs and Dodgers meet again for three games at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 26-28. ... Fife took Sunday's start in place of RHP Zack Greinke, whose start was pushed back to Monday at St. Louis. Los Angeles also optioned OF/1B Scott Van Slyke to Triple-A Albuquerque. ... Jansen now has 17 saves in 20 chances, and he's retired 25 consecutive batters since July 24. ... The Cubs open a series at Philadelphia on Tuesday.
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