CHICAGO (AP) -- Mark Prior had his best stuff when he needed it
Prior scattered seven hits in his second complete game in a week
against Los Angeles as the Chicago Cubs beat the Dodgers 2-1 on
Prior struck out three of the last four batters he faced and
pitched a perfect ninth, striking out pinch-hitter Ron Coomer to
end his third complete game of the season.
"I felt a little weak early on," Prior said. "My pitches
weren't sharp, but the seventh inning on, I got that extra little
life on my fastball and extra little bite on my curveball that kind
of gave me the strength to go further."
Sammy Sosa had three hits and drove in two runs as the Cubs won
for the fifth time in six games.
"This is our time," said Sosa. "This is our chance to win the
The Dodgers finally got to Prior in the eighth. Prior hit
pinch-hitter Mike Kinkade with a pitch and Dave Roberts followed
with a single. Lo Duca hit an RBI single to left, scoring Kinkade
and moving Roberts to third. Alou bobbled the ball in left, but
third-base coach Glenn Hoffman stopped Roberts at third.
"It was an emotional part, because it's a big part of the
game," Prior said. "It's one of those parts in the game where as
a starting pitcher you got to see what you can do to keep control
and help your team get back in the dugout."
Making his first start at Wrigley Field since colliding with
Atlanta second baseman Marcus Giles on July 11, Prior (11-5)
retired 18 of the first 21 he faced, including nine in a row
between the fourth and sixth innings. He struck out five and walked
Prior and Sosa were impressive against the Dodgers again. On
Sunday, Sosa drove in all three runs for Chicago on two homers and
Prior pitched a five-hitter to beat the Dodgers.
"Sammy's pretty good, so he's going to hurt you," Paul Lo Duca
said. "Mark threw the ball well again today and so be it. They
beat us again and what can you do, it's over with."
Maso Kida (0-1), making his first career major league start and
first appearance with the Dodgers, pitched five innings and allowed
two runs and five hits.
Kenny Lofton led off the first for the Cubs with a single off
Kida, and Sosa drove in Lofton from first on a double to
left-center one out later.
Chicago made it 2-0 when Alex Gonzalez hit a two-out double in
the fifth and Sosa followed with an RBI single.
Kida made his first major league appearance since pitching for
Detroit at Cleveland on May 17, 2000.
"We got what we hoped we get at least, and then some, from our
starting pitcher. Which obviously put us in a position and gave us
a chance to actually steal a big game in what looked like , very
definitely, a pitching mismatch," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.
Actor Russell Crowe and his band -- 30 Odd Foot of Grunts --
sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning
stretch. ... The Cubs recalled outfielder David Kelton from
Triple-A Iowa before the game. ... RHP Andy Ashby did make the trip
with the Dodgers to Chicago on Thursday night. He has the flu, and
is expected to join the team Saturday. ... Prior is the second Cubs
pitcher this season to throw two complete games against the same
team and go the distance in consecutive starts against the same
team. Kerry Wood also did July 9 vs. Florida and July 19 at
Florida. The last Cub to achieve the feat was Rick Sutcliffe in