Lilly Throttles Dodgers 8-2

Former Dodger Ted Lilly had another clutch performance for the Cubs, winning for the eighth time in 15 starts after a loss this season, limiting the Dodgers to six hits and a pair of runs to, at least temporarily, slow the Los Angeles pennant/wild card drive.

Chicago broke open a slow, but close, game with four runs in the last of the eighth. The Cubs led 4-2 before the clinching surge and take the third game of the four game set after losing the first two.

The lefthander, who got his first win since August 9, was drafted in 1996 in the 23rd round and never threw a pitch for Los Angeles, being traded to Montreal along with Jon Tucker, Peter Bergeron and Wilton Guerrero for Carlos Perez, Mark Grudzielanek and Hiram Bocachica.

With the loss, the Dodgers fell four games behind Arizona in the N.L. West after the Snakes beat the Padres. L.A. is three behind the Padres in the wild-card race.

It was just one of those nights for the Dodgers who didn't perform well at the plate, on the mound or in the field. Ugly would pretty well describe it.

"We made a few mistakes there that weren't really pretty," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "When we do have a day like this, we've got to put it behind us as quickly as we can and get on with business tomorrow."

Los Angeles were kept off the bases most of the night but left a runner at third in the first and third, trailing 1-0 into the bottom of the inning when Eric Stults, filling David Well's starting slot, was tagged for a two run home run by Aramas Ramirez. Down 3-0 early, they never got back in the game.

Eric Stults (1-3), recalled from the minors for the fourth time this season, got the start because Wells is serving a seven-game suspension for a run-in with an umpire while with San Diego.

Making his sixth major league start, the lefthander gave up eight hits and four runs -- three earned -- in 4.1 innings. "I just couldn't get my changeup down. It was coming back across the plate," Stults said.

He was better at the plate than on the mound, smacking a double and a single in two trips.

Juan Pierre doubled and stole third with one out in the first inning but was left there. Trailing 1-0 in the third, Stults doubled and moved to third with two outs. Pierre slashed a line drive off Ramirez's glove at third and it arched softly into the glove of shortstop Ronny Cedeno for the final out.

At that point, one could get the trend of the game and it wasn't going to be good for the Dodgers.

Mike Lieberthal, filling in for Russell Martin behind the plate, doubled in the fifth inning, moved to third on Stults' second hit of the game and scored the first Dodger run on a fly ball off the bat of Rafael Furcal.

The Cubs got the run back in the bottom of the inning after a double by Mark DeRosa and a single by Derrek Lee that right fielder Matt Kemp threw off the brick wall behind home plate in an attempt to cut off the run.

Lieberthal walked in the seventh and Lilly was given the rest of the night off. Olmedo Saenz, pinch-hitting for Scott Proctor, singled to left and the Dodgers got a gift run when the Cub center fielder slipped going after the ball, allowing Lieberthal to score from first base.

That ended the Dodger scoring with only Andre Ethier's single breaking up outs by the final 10 Dodger batters.

The Cubs weren't finish, however. Jonathan Meloan took over in the bottom of the eighth and walked the first two he faced. Mark Hendrickson and Roberto Hernandez was banged around as Chicago sent 10 to the plate and score four times.

Derek Lowe (11-12, 3.78 ERA) opposes Jason Marquis (11-8, 4.20) in an afternoon game today in the finale of the four-game series.

Score by innings Los Angeles 000 010 100-2 Chicago 012 010 04x-8 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 3 0 0 1 .276 Pierre cf 4 0 1 0 .291 Kemp rf 4 0 1 0 .342 Kent 2b 4 0 0 0 .292 Ethier lf 4 0 1 0 .288 Hillenbrand 3b 4 0 1 0 .251 Loney 1b 4 0 0 0 .307 Lieberthal c 3 2 1 1 .243 Stults p 2 0 2 0 .364 Proctor p 0 0 0 0 .000 Saenz ph 1 0 1 0 .188 Hu pr 0 0 0 0 .000 Seanez p 0 0 0 0 .000 Beimel p 0 0 0 0 .000 Meloan p 0 0 0 0 .000 Hendrickson p 0 0 0 0 .038 Hernandez p 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 33 2 8 2 Chicago 35 8 13 7 Error- Pierre (5), Kemp (4), Kent (14). 2B- Pierre (20), Stults (2), Lieberthal (2), Sanez (5). RBI- Furcal (44), Saenz (17). SF- Furcal. SB- Pierre (55). CS- Hillenbrand (3). LOB- Los Angeles 6, Chicago (10). DP- Hillenbrand, Kent and Loney. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Stults (1-3) 4.1 8 4-3 2 2 4.50 Proctor 1.2 0 0-0 0 3 3.77 Seanez 0.2 0 0-0 2 2 3.65 Beimel 0.1 0 0-0 0 0 4.06 Meloan 0.1 0 1-1 2 0 3.86 Hendrickson 0.0 2 2-2 0 0 5.24 Hernandez 0.2 3 1-1 0 0 6.02 WP- Stults. T- 3:18. Att- 39,599.

Martin OK-- Catcher Russell Martin had a precautionary MRI exam before the game and it revealed a mild sprain on the outside of his left knee and may not play in the series finale. He twisted to avoid a tag at the plate in the second game of the series and fell on his knee. Although he limped into the dugout, he caught the final two innings. When he arrived at Wrigley Field for treatment, trainer Stan Conte decided an MRI was in order. Manager Grady Little said he was planning to give Martin today's game off, but now plans to start him if he's ready.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Randy Wolf underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder, and doctors repaired frayed his labrum and cleaned out scarring. The scarring was anticipated and the labrum injury is relatively minor. "It's good news for Randy because nothing was structurally wrong," said Conte. "It's the best scenario for what we thought. He'll start rehabilitating in a week, and it should be six to eight weeks. He should be fully competitive by the beginning of Spring Training." But with a $9 million option can be bought out for $500,000, Wolf may not be back for spring training, at least with the Dodgers. ...Chad Billingsley, David Wells and Brad Penny will pitch in San Francisco, meaning Esteban Loaiza will be held over until Tuesday night against San Diego. ...Infielder Tony Abreu said he will decide after the season whether to undergo surgery to correct a suspected sports hernia, apparently suffered just before he was sent down to Triple-A on July 18. ...Las Vegas pitching coach Jay Howell is spending this series with the Major League team, then he'll coach Dodgers farmhands in the Hawaii Fall League, and then he might leave the organization. It's not that Howell is unhappy he just doesn't want to be a Minor League coach anymore. "I really want to coach in the big leagues," said the 46-year-old Howell, who pitched seven seasons in the Major Leagues, the first five in Los Angeles. "I'm hoping there will be some opportunities. But not here. Rick Honeycutt and I are friends. We played together and we coached together, and you don't tread on family. My job has been to help develop as many guys as we could get to the Major Leagues. Now I want a big league job." ...The Astros appear set to begin interviewing candidates for their vacant general manager's position, and a few names have started to circulate, including former Dodgers GM Dan Evans. ...Right-hander Brett Tomko, whom the Dodgers designated for assignment Aug. 24 and released Monday, signed Tuesday with San Diego. The Dodgers are still on the hook for about $1.5 million of Tomko's two-year, $8.7 million contract. ...Forty-four year old Roberto Hernandez, the sixth reliever used by the Dodgers in the eighth inning, made his 1,006th career appearance, giving him sole possession of 10th place all-time on the games pitched list.