CHICAGO -- No matter how good this one looked, Ted Lilly really wasn't sure this was his best start of the season. Either way, he'll take it.
Lilly pitched seven scoreless innings, Tyler Colvin drove in the lone run with a double in the eighth and the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 on Thursday."I got away with a few," Lilly said. "I made some decent pitches."But ..."Maybe not the best I've thrown the ball," he said.It was good enough, though.Barely.Mike Fontenot led off the eighth with a triple down the right-field line and came around on a one-out double down the line by Colvin, who went to third when right fielder Xavier Paul had trouble picking up the ball and bumped into the wall."It's a tough little corner," Colvin said. "You've got the drain, a little spot where the ball can roll down."And there's hardly any room between the wall and the line.That hit chased tough-luck loser John Ely (3-2) and sent the Cubs to their eighth win in 11 games.Fontenot and Colvin had come on in the eighth for the Cubs, with Colvin going to left as part of a double switch in which Sean Marshall replaced Lilly.Fontenot replaced Jeff Baker at third when he walked off the field with a vision problem in his right eye following a leadoff single by Russell Martin. Marshall (5-1) also gave up a one-out single to Matt Kemp, putting runners on first and second, before Casey Blake lined to first and James Loney grounded to second.Carlos Marmol came on in the ninth and walked Blake DeWitt with one out before striking out pinch-hitters Manny Ramirez and Garret Anderson for his 11th save in 13 chances.Lilly pitched three-hit ball in his best start statistically this season but is still searching for his first win since April 24 -- his first appearance after offseason surgery. He's 0-4 in his last six outings.At one point, after a sixth-inning single, Blake thought Lilly was off toward the third base side and not on the rubber when he was delivering pitches. First base coach Mariano Duncan got in between Blake and crew chief John Hirschbeck, the first base umpire, and manager Joe Torre briefly came out."We couldn't see anything from the dugout," Torre said. "John Hirschbeck said from where he was standing he couldn't see for sure, either. We really went nowhere. I don't know what you can do about it other than showing evidence but we didn't have any."Lilly, who tends to stand toward the third base side of the rubber, said the umpires never said anything to him and insisted if he did anything wrong, it was accidental. He couldn't remember anyone raising the issue in the past, either."I don't think your push-off would be as good if you're not on the rubber," he said.Ely, who grew up in suburban Homewood, Ill., was about as dominant as Lilly, holding the Cubs to four hits in 7 1/3 innings in his first Chicago start. He also robbed Starlin Castro of a hit, snagging his liner on one knee in the fourth -- one of several neat plays by both teams, including a shoestring catch by left fielder Reed Johnson on Kosuke Fukudome's liner to end the inning after Derrek Lee had doubled.A Chicago White Sox fan, Ely was drafted by them and spent three years in their system before he was dealt to the Dodgers as part of the Juan Pierre trade in December."It was a little different," said Ely, who was cheered and tipped his cap when he left the game. "It's great to have the home crowd behind you. There were more people than I expected. It was great, it was real encouraging."
Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, out with a broken right pinkie finger, could return from the 15-day disabled list Monday. Torre said he's scheduled to play for Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday and Saturday and take Sunday off. ... The Dodgers designated right-hander Ramon Ortiz for assignment and purchased the contract of right-hander Justin Miller from Triple-A. ... Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano is day to day after going to a hospital for precautionary reasons because of lower abdominal pain.