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Nomar's solo shot, Blanco's 3 RBI lift Cubs past Dodgers

CHICAGO (AP) -- Nomar Garciaparra is just glad to be back on the
field.

Garciaparra hit a solo home run and drove in two runs to back
Mark Prior and help the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers
6-3 on Tuesday night.

"I'm not here to prove anything I'm just here to play," said
Garciaparra, who is a free agent after the season. "I'm just glad
that I'm getting back. I didn't know if I was going to be back this
year with the injury. I'm happy to be back and doing anything I
can."

Garciaparra missed the majority of the season after tearing his
groin on April 20 in St. Louis. Since coming off the disabled list
on Aug. 26, he is hitting .354 while playing five games at third
base.

"At third, that's still a work in progress. That's what's
great, every day I get to work at third, work at hitting, I've got
to do everything," said Garciaparra, who has been a shortstop his
entire career.

Prior (10-5) allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings,
struck out seven and walked none.

Henry Blanco hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the sixth
inning and had three RBI for the Cubs, who won for the third time
in 10 games.

"It's not about personal achievements or personal wins, it's
about winning as a team. We haven't won as many games as we would
like as team," Prior said.

Cubs manager Dusty Baker kept a close eye on Prior.

"A gutsy performance by Mark. We knew we were going to keep him
between 90-100 pitches because the last time out he threw 130. We
were really watching him this time, that why we took him out so
early," Baker said.

Ryan Dempster pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 22 chances,
retiring pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz on a game-ending flyout with
runners at the corners.

Jeff Kent and Mike Edwards hit solo homers for the Dodgers, who
had won their previous three games.

Brad Penny (6-9) gave up five runs and eight hits in 5 2-3
innings.

"Tonight a couple of groundballs got through and it killed
me," Penny said, adding that he didn't feel comfortable on the
mound without elaborating on specifics.

"Sometimes you don't feel good, it has nothing to do with
sickness, you are out there on the mound and you just don't feel
good," he said.

Trailing 3-1 in the sixth, the Cubs rallied with four runs.
Jeromy Burnitz had an broken-bat RBI infield single when Penny
slipped and couldn't cover the bag after first baseman Jason
Phillips fielded the ball. Garciaparra hit a sacrifice fly, and
Blanco had a two-run single.

"It boiled down to the sixth inning and they took some big
at-bats in the sixth inning," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "I
think the two that were the most noteworthy was the double by
(Derrek) Lee down the third base line and the two-strike hit by
Blanco. That was hit in the perfect spot and found it's way through
the middle of the field."

Todd Walker doubled leading off the eighth, moved up on Matt
Murton's sacrifice and scored on Blanco's squeeze bunt.

"It was just a well executed game," Baker said.

Phillips' RBI single gave Los Angeles the lead in the first, but
Kent was caught in a rundown between third and home, and he was
tagged out by Cubs shortstop Ronny Cedeno.

Edwards homered in the second to put the Dodgers ahead 2-0, but
backed by a strong wind blowing to right, Garciaparra hit his
fourth homer of the season in the bottom half.

Kent's 24th homer gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead in the sixth.

Game notes
The Cubs placed right-hander Kerry Wood on the 15-day
disabled list on Tuesday and purchased the contract of RHP Jermaine
Van Buren from Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs also recalled Murton from
Iowa to fill the roster spot of OF Todd Hollandsworth, traded to
Atlanta Braves on Monday. Wood is to have season-ending
arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday and hopes to
be ready to pitch by spring training. ... Edwards' other homer this
season was July 1 against Arizona.