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Wolf Chews Through Cubs, Dodgers Win Second Straight
For the second time this week, Randy Wolf’s (8-6) hot bat and even hotter arm, propelled the Los Angeles Dodgers (73-50) to a victory over a league rival.
The Dodgers’ second straight victory over the Chicago Cubs (61-59) gave Wolf a victory in The Battle of The Randys, against 26 year-old rookie pitcher Randy Wells (9-6). The Dodgers’ Randy is 3-0 over his last three starts with a 1.99 ERA.
“There was a couple of starts where I think I was mentally beaten a little bit,” he said of the stretch prior to this hot streak. “I let some of the things that were out of my control get to me. I had to take a step back and get out of that mental mode. It was a little negative.”
Wolf’s long double to center field in the second inning scored Russell Martin and Orlando Hudson. His two RBIs were more than the Cubs' offensive output for the night.
From the mound he pitched a quick seven innings, holding the Cubs to one hit, one (earned) run, and two walks to go with five strikeouts.
“Wolfie has been a workforce, he’s been terrific,” said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. “Right now he’s on a roll. Pitching is a lot like hitting, you get into a groove and can’t wait to get out there.”
The Dodgers strong bullpen secured Wolf’s victory, and helped to complete a one-hitter. Brox The Ox (aka Ironman), Jonathan Broxton, notched his 27th save with a 1-2-3 ninth. Newcomer George Sherrill pitched a scoreless, hitless eighth as well.
Despite recent consistency troubles, Broxton sat down Cubs star slugger Derrek Lee with a breaking-ball strikeout to end the game (and cue Randy Newman’s “I Love LA.”) Torre called it “early season Broxton.” One batter earlier, his strikeout of polarizing ex-Dodger, Milton Bradley, brought some of the night’s loudest cheers from the remaining 51,579.
The night’s victory earned the Dodgers their first two game winning streak in a week-and-a-half. “I think we’ve got a little ways before we’re back to form,” said Wolf. “The good thing about this team is we have a lot of short memories and guys get over things very fast.”
The Cubs’ Randy, Wells, pitched a strong 6 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits, two walks, and notched three strikeouts. The two runs to cross the plate were unearned, courtesy of an error by Cubs outfielder Aramis Ramirez.
Their lone run came in the third. A Ryan Theriot single allowed Sam Fuld to score. Theriot was next caught stealing to end the Cubs’ lone offense charge of the muggy evening.
In the eighth, Manny Ramirez nearly improved the Dodgers’ run total to three when he slugged what would have typically been a homerun off of sidearm reliever Carlos Marmol. Jeff Baker’s leaping grab over the center field wall converted that instead to an out. The dreadlocked slugger finished the night 1-for-4.
Wolf’s 11 RBIs this season are not only a career best but he’s the first Dodger to rip 11 RBIs since Fernando Valenzuela did so in 1990.
Wolf’s low-light of the night was a baserunning blunder in the fourth. “I tried to look back at the scoreboard, and didn’t have time. That was definitely a brain-fart,” he said after walking in his second at bat.
“I wasn’t really crazy about that inning where we forgot how many outs there were,” said Torre.
The Dodgers are 22-16 in one-run games this season. “It’s nice to win a close game,” said Torre.
Torre revealed tomorrow's starting battery. “I’m going to catch [Brad] Ausmus with [Charlie] Haeger," he said of the veteran catcher and 27-year old knuckleballer Charlie Haeger.
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