It was he first two-game winning streak in more than two weeks for the Dodgers and much of it was due to a rejuvenated Derek Lowe, who now has a 1.86 ERA over his past four starts,
Lowe took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and for the second time out-pitched Zambrano head-to-head. Lowe, now 4-5, allowed three runs on six hits over seven innings, striking out four. Jonathan Broxton finished off the eighth inning and Takashi Saito struck out the side in order in the ninth.
"Derek's got to be the most hard-luck pitcher I think I've ever been on a team with," Jeff Kent said after the game. "Yeah, he has some bad days, but he pitches deep into games and most of the time he keeps us in the ballgame. For some reason, he doesn't get the breaks. But a few times he has, like today, and I'm glad it worked out for him because he deserves more victories than he's been getting."
Zambrano himself broke a 2-2 tie with an RBI single in the top of the seventh to put the Cubs up 3-2, but the Dodgers pulled ahead to stay in the bottom half.
Juan Pierre ignited the Cub-assisted rally when he singled and appeared to be out trying to steal second, but the ball popped out of shortstop Ryan Theriot's glove as he applied the tag. That small miscue opened the door and the Dodgers barged right in.
Ethier beat out an infield single and moved to second when third baseman Armis Ramirez bounced the ball past first. Pierre scored on the error to tie the game, and Martin put the Dodgers ahead to stay for a single that Kosuke Fukudome dove for and had in his glove for a moment but dropped when he hit he ground.
James Loney singled past third before Kemp drove a long shot over the center field wall for his fifth home run, knocking Zambrano out of the game. The Cub righthander had allowed more than three earned runs in a start in just twoof his previous 11 starts.
Alfonso Soriano tagged Lowe for a home run in the fifth to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead but Jeff Kent beat out a rare infield hit and Martin slugged his fifth home run to center to tie things at two each.
"Martin's two-run homer got us tied and I gave the lead right back on Zambrano's RBI single," said Lowe. "That's why I was mad at myself. Who'd ever thought Zambrano would have an inning like that? Give our offense tons of credit for scoring that many runs against a guy having that good a year."
For the second game in succession, a Dodgers pitcher made a crucial adjustment that resulted in a win.
Torre said Lowe's sinker is going "down" instead of "sideways," but pitching coach Rick Honeycutt credits to a focused mental approach rather than any mechanical adjustment.
"It's about tempo and mindset and what he's trying to accomplish," said Honeycutt, who has worked with Lowe on slowing down his approach. "The main thing for him is to concentrate on down in the zone, get ahead in the count and pitch to contact. Early on, he was pressing, trying to make too good a pitch."
Martin had three hits to snap an 0-for-15 slide, and he gave partial credit, not to his batting coach, but to the fact that he had shaved his beard. So while the pitchers lean on their pitching coach, the Dodgers batters search for the right barber to restore their mojo.
As you can see, it's a very complicated game.
Arizona, San Francisco San Diego and Colorado all won so the N.L West race remained the same with the Dodgers trailing the Snakes by four and three in front of the third place Giants. The Padres are eight back and the Rockies 10.
Tonight Brad Penny will face the Cubs Jason Marquis. Penny is coming off a strong game against the Rockies, when he allowed two runs on six hits in six innings with the help of a good splitter. Penny has not won since May 2 but hopes to give Dodgers starters their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Marquis (3-3, 5.02 ERA) picked up the win in his last start against the Padres in spite of himself having allowed three runs on four hits and five walks over five innings. He also was called for a balk and made a throwing error.
The matchups the next three days:
Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw, 0-1, 4.91 at San Diego's Greg Maddux, 3-4, 3.48.
?Wednesday: Chad Billingsley, (4-6, 3.57) vs Josh Banks, (2-0, 0.39).
Score by innings Chicago 000 011 100-3 Los Angeles 000 002 50x-7 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Pierre lf 5 1 2 0 .276 Ethier rf 4 1 2 0 .299 Kent 2b 4 1 2 0 .257 Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Saito p 0 0 0 0 .000 Martin c 4 2 3 3 .316 Loney 1b 4 1 1 0 .280 Kemp cf 4 1 2 3 .307 DeWitt 3b 3 0 1 0 .298 Hu ss 4 0 0 0 .192 Lowe p 2 0 0 0 .192 Young ph 1 0 0 0 .286 Maza 2b 1 0 0 0 .233 Totals 36 7 13 6 Chicago 32 3 6 3 HR- Martin (5), Kemp (5). RBI- Martin 3 (36), Kemp 3 (35). SB- Kemp (11), Pierre (22), Martin (5). LOB- Los Angeles 6, Chicago 6. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Lowe (4-5) 7.0 6 3-3 2 4 4.15 Broxton 1.0 0 0-0 1 0 4.68 Saito 1.0 0 0-0 0 3 2.10 T- 2:29. Att- 50,200.Berroa to Start Tonight
Newly acquired shortstop Angel Berroa will make his first start as a Dodger on tonight on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. He will replace Chin-lung Hu, who has started at shortstop while Rafael Furcal has been disabled with a lower back strain.
Hu has struggled at the plate, going 2-for-34 (.059) in his last 13 games, lowering his average to .159. Luis Maza's mired in a 1-for-18 slump.
"We'll certainly put him out there and see what we have," Torre said. "I don't think it takes more than a couple of games to watch somebody and get a feel for it."
Berroa, the 2003 rookie of the year, spent most of the last two years with the Kansas City Royals' Triple-A affiliate in Omaha. The addition of the 30-year old middle infielder, who was acquired for class-A infielder Juan Rivera, forced the Dodgers to designate reserve third baseman Terry Tiffee for assignment to make room on their active and 40-man roster.
Berroa said he was delighted to join the Dodgers. His production started to decline after receiving a four-year, $11 million contract extension in May 2004. "It was a hard time there, but now I'm here and ready to start again."
Because Berroa's entire salary is being paid by the Royals, the Dodgers have no financial incentive to keep him if they don't think he is a fit for their team. Manager Joe Torre said that Berroa would probably play his first game today.
Hu Goes Where?
Rookie Chin-lung Hu remains on the major league roster largely because the Dodgers don't know what they'll be getting from Berroa, Torre said.
Torre maintained his position that he would like Hu to play at Las Vegas, which he thinks would aid his development. The manager said that Andy LaRoche is "close" to being called up from Las Vegas, a hint that LaRoche and Hu could trade places soon if Berroa is deemed an adequate utility man.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Backup catcher Danny Ardoin has made two starts and Hiroki Kuroda has given up only one run in 15.1 innings in those games. Because of that, Torre said, it isn't a given that Gary Bennett will be Russell Martin's backup when he is ready to come off the disabled list. ...Jason Schmidt won't be making his scheduled rehab start with Las Vegas today, as he woke up with discomfort stemming from a bullpen session. ...A moment of silence was held for Jim McKay, the longtime voice of ABC Sports who died Saturday morning at age 86. In July 2000, when the American Sportscasters Association selected Dodgers play-by-play man Vin Scully as the No. 1 sportscaster of the 20th century, McKay finished sixth in the voting behind Scully, Howard Cosell, Mel Allen, Red Barber and Bob Costas. ...Kent has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, good for a .357 batting average. James Loney has hit in seven straight and 10 of 11. ... The Dodgers have 100 games remaining in the season entering todnight's game. ... Starting Saturday, pledges were being made to prostate cancer research for every home run hit in 60 select games during Fathers' Day week.