Dodgers win 12th straight road game

Jack McCarthy, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Don Mattingly said there's a simple reason why the Los Angeles Dodgers have been unbeatable away from home recently.
"They're coming to play every day and yesterday's game doesn't help you," Mattingly said following the Dodgers' 6-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday. "Each game is a big game in the sense that you play it like a must-win situation."
The Dodgers' Wrigley Field victory was their 12th straight on the road and equaled a franchise mark set in the first game of a Sept. 6, 1924, doubleheader as the then-Brooklyn Robins beat the Boston Braves 1-0.
On Friday, shortstop Nick Punto went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs as the Dodgers collected nine hits and walked eight times.
"This is a special team; I expect really good things from this team postseason and beyond," Punto said. "It's really cool that we (tied) that record."
Neither Mattingly nor second baseman Mark Ellis was around for the end of the game. Home plate umpire Alan Porter ejected both for arguing a strikeout call in the fourth inning.
Cubs outfielder Junior Lake went 4-for-5, the first Major League player since St. Louis' Bo Hart in 2003 to have a pair of four-hit games in his first 16 contests.
"I feel so good now," Lake said through an interpreter. "I see the ball real well now approaching every at-bat."
Los Angeles starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, meanwhile, never trailed as he improved to 10-3 while working 5 1/3 innings.
Ex-Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol, making his first visit to Chicago since a July trade to the Dodgers, allowed two base runners in the ninth but did not give up any runs.
Adrian Gonzalez gave the Dodgers a 1-0 first-inning lead when he doubled off the ivy in left and scored on Jasiel Puig's RBI single.
The Cubs replied with two out in the second as Darwin Barney's two-base hit -- his 19th of the season - scored Cole Gillespie.
Ellis extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a leadoff double to center in the third and came home on Punto's two-base hit.
Punto reached third on Gonzalez's fly out, but Punto was caught stealing home after a walk to Puig. But the inning then got worse for Cubs starter Travis Wood as he issued three straight walks, scoring Puig as the Dodgers went up 3-1.
Los Angeles collected two more runs in the fourth after Mattingly and Ellis were tossed.
Ryu led off the fourth with a single to right, advanced to second on Punto's infield base hit and scored on a Gonzalez bloop hit to center that was mishandled by David DeJesus.
Wood departed with runners at second and third and one out in favor of Michael Bowden, who loaded the bases by hitting Puig in the back. Scott Van Slyke's sacrifice fly to right scored Punto for a 5-1 lead.
Chicago made it 5-2 in the fourth as Gillespie's double to right center scored Starlin Castro.
Juan Uribe, who had singled, came home on Punto's fifth-inning sacrifice fly as the Dodger lead grew to 6-2.
Wood (7-8) threw 96 pitched in 3 1/3 innings and gave up five earned runs on seven hits. He walked four and struck out a pair. Bowden left after four and Chicago ended up using six pitchers.
"I was battling all day," Wood said. "You can't give up walks, especially with the team they have over there and the way they've been playing."
Ryu was replaced by J.P Howell with one out in the sixth with two runners on. Luis Valbuena reached on an infield hit to load the bases for DeJesus, who grounded into a double play.
Ryu allowed two earned runs on 11 hits while striking out six.
Los Angeles sends left-hander Chris Capuano (3-6, 4.54 ERA) against Chicago right-hander Jeff Samardzija (6-9, 3.75 ERA) on Saturday.
NOTES: Cubs president Theo Epstein said he was pleased with the Cubs performance in July along with city approval of Wrigley Field renovations. But there will be rough patches ahead. "Just like a player's development, the progress of an organization isn't always linear, (but) the trend line as a whole is going in the right direction," he said before Friday's game. ... The Cubs named Single-A first 1B Dan Vogelbach and Double-A Tennessee RHP Matt Loosen as the organization's players of the month for July. Vogelbach batted .330 with four homers while Loosen was 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in six starts. ... Since July 1 the Dodgers have led the Majors with a .291 battering average, 275 hits and a .346 on-base percentage. ...On June 21 the Dodgers were a season-worst 12 games under .500, and since then they have had baseball's best record (29-7) over their last 36 games. ... Friday was a day of rest of Hanley Ramirez, who had a two-run double in Thursday's series opener and is hitting .333 (19-for-57) with three homers and 12 RBIs since the All-Star break.

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