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Dodgers Breeze Through a Shutout of Boston

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It's funny how these things happen.

A year ago on Sunday, the Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox made the historic nine-player trade that turned the fortunes of both franchises. Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto came to Los Angeles while James Loney, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Jerry Sands and Ivan DeJesus went out East. I remember remarking on how surreal the day was.

None of the players sent to Boston are with the club: Loney is with the Tampa Bay Rays; Sand and DeJesus are in the Pittsburgh Pirates system; Webster and De La Rosa are still in the Red Sox system in the minors. However with the $260 million of contracts Boston sent over, it allowed them the money to re-sign David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia and signing free agents such as Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino.

Since that trade the Dodgers have gone 93-70 and the Red Sox have gone 86-81. Both sit atop of their respective divisions. So far it has been a win-win sitation for both teams.

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And as the baseball gods would have it, one year after the trade, the two teams face off against each other.

It was a bonafide pitchers' duel between Ricky Nolasco and the former Angel and newly svelte John Lackey. Through the first three innings Nolasco only gave up a single to Pedroia in the first inning and Lackey had a clean sheet with three strikeouts.

Then came the revenge of the former Red Sox. Carl Crawford led off the bottom of the fourth with a single, and two batters later Hanley Ramirez blasted a home run to right-center field for the 2-0 much to the chagrin of the Red Sox fans who polluted the stadium.

"He was trying to quick pitch me," Ramirez said. "I got my foot down, and I made a good swing. I got lucky that the ball went out."

Meanwhile there was no such hiccup for Nolasco. He kept the Red Sox batters off balance throughout the night going eight innings ceding only two hits and a hit batter.

"I felt good today," Nolasco said. "A good tempo, a good rhythm. I felt strong and had a lot of pitches going."

While the Red Sox just played a four hour, 12 minute nine-inning game against the New York Yankees on Sunday, this game finished up at a healthy two hours, seven minutes. It's the shortest game the Dodgers played this season and their shortest since beating the Atlanta Braves at home 2-1 in a tidy two hours flat on July 9, 2008.

"It's pretty nice huh," manager Don Mattingly said. "It allows you to have fireworks." Of course he alluded to the last Friday night game, the 7-6 walkoff victory over the Tampa Bay Rays that ended after 11 p.m. forcing the fireworks show to be canceled.

The Dodgers won round one with the 2-0 shutout, their Major League leading 18th shutout and second consecutive shutout. They are now 76-52 and have a 10 1/2 game lead in the NL West, their largest such lead since Sept. 28, 1977.

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