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Dodgers Make It Three Wins In A Row Against The Cubs

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For the second straight game, the Los Angeles Dodgers (74-50) need but only two runs to defeat the Chicago Cubs (61-60) -- the league rival they made quick work of in last season’s Division Series.

Unlike last night, the Cubs failed to score a single run against Dodger pitching.

“We certainly haven’t given them a lot to work with,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of his pitching staff’s allowing but one run in the past 24 innings.

Exiting early in the eighth, knuckleballer Charlie Haeger’s (1-1) shutout performance earned him a standing ovation from the Dodgers’ crowd of 49,297. He struck out seven while allowing three hits and giving up four walks. His two-games-long season ERA dipped to 1.93.

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“I think early I didn’t really have a great feel for it,” said the game’s winning pitcher of his knuckeball. In the first inning he threw more balls than strikes. “The third or fourth inning was when I started to feel a little bit better. It’s an inning to inning kind of pitch.”

“I’m sure we are going to see him out there again,” said Torre of Haeger’s immediate future as a Dodger starter.

The Dodgers’ two runs, like the previous night, came courtesy of two solo home runs. Matt Kemp’s blast in the second soared beyond the Dodgers’ left field bullpen, travelling 449 feet.

“He killed that ball”, said Torre.

It was Kemp’s 18th of the season which ties his career high, and his 77 RBIs are a career best. Casey Blake’s fourth inning solo shot was his fifteenth of the year.

In a reversal from the previous night’s winning formula, Brox The Ox, Jonathan Broxton pitched the eighth and George Sherrill (who started the season in a Baltimore Oriole uniform) closed the game. Sherrill earned his first save in Dodger (white and) blue, which was his 21st overall this season.

“I had basically decided to flip-flop them where they were in the lineup and because of the success Brox has had against those guys," said Torre of the top of the Cubs' line-up. "It’s a nice situation to have."

Broxton struck out Kosuke Fukudome (the man whose name gets kids in trouble) to end an offensive threat from the Cubs. Fukuome’s third whiff of the day erupted Chavez-Ravine into a roar-and-a-half.

“Whenever they want me to pitch, I’ll pitch,” said Broxton who usually closes the game.

Cubs starting hurler Ted Lilly (9-8) from Torrance did well in a rare homecoming. In six innings, he allowed three hits, and two earned runs. The Dodgers sputtering offense only had one hit off Lilly that wasn't a home run.

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Despite not netting any hits, left fielder Sam Fuld starred for the Cubs. He converted two walks into his first two stolen bases of the season and played left field heroically. His diving catch of a Brad Ausmus’ second inning shot saw the ball somehow staying in Fuld’s glove despite his fast-moving face-plant into the mesh fence of the Dodgers’ bullpen door. He appeared unscathed. That wasn't even his only acrobatic catch of the game.

And Whatnot

ThinkCure! Weekend exceeded their $200,000 goal in the second annual cancer-fighting Radiotelewebethon. The event closes at 11 p.m. tonight.

Manny Ramirez went 0-for-3.

Today’s humid weather helped the Dodgers’ cause. “It’s definitely easier to grip the ball,” said winning-pitcher Haeger.

Right fielder Matt Kemp lost an eight inning Derrek Lee double to the sun. While the highlight may end up on a blooper reel, Kemp was not credited with an error.

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