NL: Dodgers turn to alternate closer
Associated PressCHICAGO ó Randy Wolf pitched impressively into the eighth inning and Ramon Troncoso wriggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on Thursday night for their fourth straight win.
Juan Pierre had two hits and scored a run for the Dodgers, who have the best record in baseball at 34-15.
The Cubs have lost nine of 11, and learned earlier in the day their ace Carlos Zambrano was suspended six games for his tirade during Wednesday’s victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Wolf (3-1) allowed one run and six hits. He struck out seven and walked one.
Troncoso pitched the ninth after manager Joe Torre let him bat in the top of the inning. Torre wanted to give Jonathan Broxton the night off after he walked three in Wednesday’s win at Colorado.
Chicago had the bases loaded with one out but Troncoso struck out Bobby Scales, whose leadoff homer in the eighth ended Wolf’s night, and Jake Fox for his third save.
Randy Wells (0-2) pitched seven strong innings for the Cubs in his fourth career start, allowing two runs and eight hits.
Diamondbacks 5, Braves 2
PHOENIX ó Dan Haren outpitched Derek Lowe and the Arizona Diamondbacks took advantage of second baseman Kelly Johnson’s error to score four times in the fourth inning on their way to a 5-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.
Haren (4-4) retired 15 in a row before a two-out double by Johnson and RBI single by Casey Kotchman in the eighth inning. The right-hander allowed two runs and seven hits in eight innings, striking out eight to earn his first victory in four starts.
Haren has not walked a batter in his last three outings. He’s walked nine all season, with 71 strikeouts.
Lowe (6-3) gave up five runs, three earned, and a season-high 10 hits for the Braves, who were swept in three games in San Francisco before opening a four-game set in Arizona.
Chad Qualls pitched a perfect ninth, with some defensive help from second baseman Augie Ojeda and shortstop Stephen Drew, for his 12th save in 14 opportunities.
Justin Upton singled three times for the Diamondbacks to raise his average to .346. The 21-year-old outfielder has hit safely in seven straight games and 30 of the last 33.
Mark Reynolds doubled twice with two RBIs for Arizona. Eric Byrnes tripled, singled, drove in a run and scored twice. Ryan Roberts, coming off a three-hit game against San Diego the previous night, singled twice and drove in a run.