Los Angeles gets sixth straight win


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- By the time Alex Cora hit his 11th
consecutive foul ball against Matt Clement, the crowd was standing
and roaring. He went on to foul off the 12th, 13th and 14th. Then,
he hit a two-run homer.

Wilson Alvarez, who held Chicago scoreless into the eighth
inning of the Los Angeles Dodgers' 4-0 win over the Cubs on
Wednesday night, also was standing and pulling for Cora in the
18-pitch at-bat.

"He was fighting and fighting, and when he hit it, I was 'Get
out of here!' " Alvarez said, smiling.

Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy called it maybe the best at-bat
he has seen against a quality pitcher.

"You can't have a better at-bat than that, and to have it end
like that, it's phenomenal," Tracy said after the Dodgers won
their sixth straight.

Cora, not exactly a power hitter, seemed a bit awed by the whole

"It was tough; he was throwing good pitches. When they put it
on the scoreboard [as the string of consecutive fouls built], that
put me under a little bit of pressure. I had to stand back and
regroup," said Cora, who drove a 2-2 pitch into the bullpen in
right to put the Dodgers up 4-0 in the seventh.

"It was great to finish it that way," he said. "It was fun."

When Cora came up, Clement had thrown 86 pitches. By the time
Cora homered, the Chicago right-hander's pitch count was up to 104
and Kyle Farnsworth came on in relief.

"He beat me. That's all there is to it," Clement said. "It
was a tough at-bat, and he won the battle."

Cubs manager Dusty Baker called it a "heck of an at-bat,"
but didn't necessarily approve of the way Cora reacted.

"He kind of spoiled it a little bit at the end by flipping the
bat," Baker said. "He won the battle already, so you don't rub it
in. But that's modern stuff, I guess."

Alvarez (2-0) gave up five hits in 7 2/3 innings with his second
impressive outing in a row since rejoining the Dodgers' starting
rotation. He struck out eight and walked one.

"It was just a tremendous performance," Tracy said.

Guillermo Mota retired all four batters he faced to complete the
shutout, the Dodgers' third of the season.

Clement (5-2) gave up four runs and seven hits in six-plus

Alvarez, 34, was coming off a dominant performance in
his first start of the year, a 4-0 win over Pittsburgh in which he
allowed just one hit in seven innings.

Invited to spring training as a non-roster player in 2003,
Alvarez went 6-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 21 appearances for the Dodgers
last season, with 12 starts. He won six consecutive decisions as a
starter in 10 games between July 13-Sept. 23, with a 1.39 ERA
during that stretch.

Los Angeles went 9-3 during his starts last year, but the
left-hander still began this year in the bullpen before he replaced
Jose Lima in the rotation last Friday. Lima, 2-1 with a 7.91 ERA,
was sent to the bullpen.

The Dodgers, with the 22-10 start their best since the 1983 club
went 23-9, scored twice in the third inning on four consecutive
infield hits with two outs.

Adrian Beltre beat out a single in that stretch to extend his
hitting streak to 15 games.

Game notes
Los Angeles RHP Paul Shuey has the splint off his right
thumb and will begin some light throwing. Shuey has been on the DL
since April 3 with a ruptured tendon in the thumb. ... Chicago RHP
Kerry Wood is expected to miss at least one start because of
inflammation in his triceps, which forced him out of Tuesday
night's outing after two innings. ... Cubs RHP Mark Prior had
another bullpen session Wednesday and reported no discomfort,
pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. ... Three-time Gold Glove SS
Rey Ordonez agreed to a minor league contract with the Cubs, a week
after Alex Gonzalez broke a bone in his right wrist.