Cubs suffer third straight defeat
CHICAGO – Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija pitched well enough to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers — if he'd gotten any run support.
With some of their big hitters getting the day off, Chris Capuano's sharp pitching helped the Dodgers break a franchise record that stood for 89 years with a 3-0 victory over the Cubs on Saturday.
The win was the Dodgers' 13th straight on the road and broke a franchise record set in 1924 by the Brooklyn Robins.
Capuano (4-6) scattered six hits over 6 1-3 innings for Los Angeles, which hasn't lost on the road since July 6 in San Francisco.
Samardzija (6-10) allowed three runs over six innings in Chicago's third straight loss. He gave up seven hits, five walks and hit a batter, but was able to get out of jams with nine strikeouts.
It wasn't enough.
"That's pretty impressive, what they've done," Samardzija said. "And after watching them play a few game you understand why. They take good at-bats, they're a dangerous lineup, and what surprised me a lot in this series was their bullpen. You mix that in with a potent offense and they're a tough team to beat."
Los Angeles is in the middle of a stretch of 26 games in 27 days, and manager Don Mattingly gave his infield an alternative look by taking four-time All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzales, hot-hitting second baseman Mark Ellis and third baseman Juan Uribe out of the starting lineup.
Others Dodgers came through at the plate and were able to capitalize on Samardzija's control problems.
"Fastball command is going to be the dictation of pretty much everybody's outing and he really didn't have it today," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He battled and got the outs and kept the game close, but obviously the pitch count after six innings was way too many."
Carl Crawford broke open a 1-0 game by driving in two runs with a single in the sixth inning. Jerry Hairston Jr. singled in the first run in the third for NL West-leading Los Angeles, which is 13-2 since the All-Star break and has won 30 of its last 37 overall.
"It's a good feeling to be a part of history, to keep winning," Crawford said. "The team is jelling really well right now."
Capuano came up with his second straight strong start and third in his last four. He struck out five and walked only one before four Dodgers relievers closed it out.
"Cappy really did a good job finishing pitches, the whole thing," Mattingly said. "Some nice plays in the infield but Cap was really efficient doing his thing."
The Dodgers turned three of their four double-plays behind Capuano, who has been rocked at times this year. But on Saturday he was crisp and in command.
Brandon League relieved Capuano with one out in the seventh and runners on first and second but got out of the inning by getting Cody Ransom to ground into a double play.
Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 16th save in 19 chances.
Samardzija escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth by striking out Crawford and Puig swinging. He wasn't as lucky in the sixth after Skip Schumaker walked to open the inning then advanced to third on Tim Federowicz's double one out later. Samardzija struck out Capuano, but Crawford lined a sharp single to right to make it 3-0.
The Cubs loaded the bases in the eighth against relievers Ronald Belisario and Paco Rodriguez, but Rodriguez struck out Wellington Castillo swinging on a full count to end the threat.
NOTES: Gonzalez is hitting .301 and leads the Dodgers with 105 games played, 120 hits, 15 homers and 66 RBIs. Scott Van Slyke filled his spot at first base, but Gonzales pinch-hit in the ninth. Ellis had extended his hitting streak to 13 games — he is 19 for 47 during that span — on Friday. Schumaker took his spot and Hairston played third until Uribe pinch-hit in the eighth and stayed in the game .. Mattingly said before the game that RHP Zack Greinke is still "lined up" to start Saturday, but hinted that he might make a last-minute tweak to the rotation and push Greinke's start back to Monday. Los Angeles doesn't have another off-day until Aug. 15 and Mattingly is trying to keep his starters fresh. ... Dodgers OF Matt Kemp, who is on the DL with a sprained left ankle, is wearing a boot and threw in the outfield before Saturday's game. "Hopefully that's going to help him bounce forward," Mattingly said. "I know the plan in St. Louis is to start the baseball stuff back up again, start hitting off a tee and getting in the cage." . Cubs RHP Zach Putnam, who is on the DL with right elbow soreness, had bone chips removed from the joint on Friday.