Heartbreaker for Lawrence, Padres Lose 3-0

In this expected pitchers duel, neither starter disappointed. Brian Lawrence left the game having to feel pretty good about his outing. He gave up just one run on six hits in six innings of work. Mark Prior felt a little better after allowing just two hits and not allowing a baserunner past second base in six innings of work and earned the win as the Chicago Cubs blanked the San Diego Padres 3-0.

The bottom of the seventh inning…

Bases loaded and one out for the San Diego Padres

Mark Prior gone from the game…

…And the San Diego Padres cannot punch the card and get anyone across the plate.

July 27, 2003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Diego 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Chicago 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 8 3

WP:Mark Prior (9-5) 6IP 2H 0ER 1BB 6K ERA: 2.87
LP: Brian Lawrence (5-14) 6IP 6H 1ER 1BB 3K ERA: 4.73

Mark Prior, fresh off the disabled list, pitched a gem and was lifted after six innings without yielding a run. In his hometown debut, Prior earned the win after allowing just two hits and one base on balls. He threw 79 pitches; manager Dusty Baker said before the game the Cubs would keep him to 85-90 pitches.

Prior was almost denied a win when Kyle Farnsworth relieved him to start the seventh. The Padres loaded the bases against Farnsworth when Mark Loretta doubled to lead off the inning, Ryan Klesko walked, and after a pop out by Phil Nevin, Rondell White walked.

Mark Guthrie relieved Farnsworth and struck out pinch hitter Brian Buchanon, roaring back from a 3-1 count. Guthrie then induced Gary Bennett to ground the ball to Aramis Ramirez, who gloved the ball about eight feet behind third base and outraced Klesko to the bag, diving glove-first to touch it for the force out.

The Padres had one last chance in the ninth when consecutive errors helped the Padres load the bases in the ninth, but Lou Merloni grounded into a game-ending double play. Joe Borowski got the save, his 20th of the season.

The Cubs got on the board when Kenny Lofton singled to center with one out and came around on Ramon Martinez's double. The Cubs padded the lead in the ninth when Ramirez hit a two-run homer, his 13th, off Jaret Wright. It was his first round tripper since joining Chicago from Pittsburgh on July 22.

Notes: Lawrence's 14 losses lead the NL and are just one behind Mike Maroth and Jeremy Bonderman of Detroit.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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