Penny stock: Dodgers hurler stops Cubs for NL-best 16th win

CHICAGO (AP) -- The old fashioned scoreboard at Wrigley Field
caught Brad Penny's attention and rightfully so.

Penny became the first 16-game winner in the National League and
Rafael Furcal homered to help the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the
Chicago Cubs 6-0 on Wednesday night.

Nomar Garciaparra added a two-run double and Rafael Furcal had
three hits and three runs for the Dodgers, who maintained a 1½
games lead over San Diego in the NL West. The Padres beat the Reds
10-0 on Wednesday night.

"Every game from here on out is important. Especially when we
see Cincinnati losing by six," said Penny. "If we play the way we
should, we should win the division or we'll all be disappointed."

The Dodgers bounced back after suffering a 9-8 loss in 11
innings to the Cubs on Tuesday night. Los Angeles blew a 7-0 lead
to Chicago, which has the worst record in the NL.

"At this point in time it's very important. It was big for him
and it was big for this ballclub. It couldn't have come at a better
time. He was strong throughout his outing. We got him a little lead
and he was outstanding," said Dodgers manager Grady Little.

The Cubs have lost 20 of their last 26 games.

"You have to continue to go out there with the same mindset
everyday. Has it been an easy season? No. It hasn't. But again like
we've talk about, you're a professional, you have to continue to go
out there and compete," said Cubs outfielder Matt Murton.

Penny (16-8) cruised for the easy victory. He pitched seven
scoreless inning, scattering seven hits. He struck out six without
allowing a walk.

He rebounded from a 7-0 loss to the Mets on Thursday. In that
start, Penny gave up a season-high seven runs and 10 hits,
including two homers, in 5 2/3 innings.

Cubs starter Angel Guzman (0-6) gave up a lead off double to
Furcal in the fifth and walked Kenny Lofton. After a wild pitch,
Garciaparra chased Guzman with a two-run double. Garciaparra scored
on Marlon Anderson's sacrifice fly off Cubs reliever Will Ohman and
Russell Martin hit an RBI-single to put the Dodgers up 6-0.

Guzman, who has yet to win a game in the majors, gave up five
runs and eight hits in four-plus innings.

Furcal, who was the catalyst to the Dodgers lineup on Wednesday,
led off the third inning with his 12th homer of the season.

"That's the key to everybody's lineup. He's a guy that's been
making things happen his whole career. Great leadoff hitter, guy
that has some pop and can hit the ball out of the ballpark so you
just can't lay pitches in there," said Anderson.

With runners on first and third in the first inning and two
outs, Jeff Kent blooped an RBI-single to score Furcal.

Game notes
Cubs reliever Glendon Rusch was diagnosed with a blood clot
in his lung and will miss the rest of the season. A team trainer
said the condition was not life threatening. ... Dodgers RHP Chad
Billingsley -- who hasn't pitched since August 27 with a strained
oblique muscle-- threw a simulated session before the game.
Billingsley threw 77 total pitches and felt very good afterwards.