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Dodgers edge Cubs to triumph in Chicago

THE major league-leading Los Angeles Dodgers escaped a ninth-inning jam to continue their recent domination of the Chicago Cubs in a 2-1 win on Thursday.

In their first meeting since sweeping the Cubs in last year's National League division series, Dodgers reliever Ramon Troncoso struck out two batters with the bases loaded in the final inning to give his team its fourth win in a row.

The right-hander went two innings, pitching his way into and out of trouble, to preserve the win for Randy Wolf, who struck out seven and allowed one run in seven innings.

"Troncoso was amazing," Dodgers manager Joe Torre told reporters. "That high-wire act - he wiggled himself off. He's proven himself to me, I am not worried about him anymore."

In the day's only other NL game, Dan Haren outpitched Derek Lowe to steer the Arizona Diamondbacks past the Atlanta Braves 5-2.

In the American League, it was: Red Sox 3, Twins 1; Indians 2, Rays 1; and Orioles 5, Tigers 1.

Bunt single

In Chicago, the Dodgers (34-15), winners of nine of their last 11 games, took an early lead on a bunt single from Rafael Furcal in the first inning and a groundout by Casey Blake in the third.

Chicago (23-23) infielder Bobby Scales, a career minor-league player getting his first action this year, hit a home run in the eighth to make it a one-run game but the Cubs also squandered a two-on, two-out scenario in the inning, finishing the game 1-for-17 with men on base.

Scales and Jake Fox struck out to end it for Chicago, which has lost nine of 11.

Owners of the best record in the NL a year ago, the Cubs have dealt with injuries this year and recently learned top pitcher Carlos Zambrano will be suspended six games for an outburst on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"We've got about 100 games to go. We haven't shot ourselves in the foot," said Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee. "If it was September and we're five games out then OK."

The Dodgers have played through the suspension of slugger Manny Ramirez, out 50 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs as of May 7. Outfielder Juan Pierre has thrived in his place and finished 2-for-4 with a run against the Cubs.


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