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Updated: Sunday, August 10, 2003 3:50 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
Chicago Cubs
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
1 5 0
Los Angeles Dodgers
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
6 8 1
W Alvarez (2-1)
L Clement (9-10)
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LOS ANGELES 6, CHICAGO CUBS 1
 

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Inside-the-park home runs are becoming a popular occurrence for the Los Angeles Dodgers .

Dave Roberts led off the first inning with the Dodgers' third inside-the-park home run of the season and Wilson Alvarez pitched seven scoreless innings as Los Angeles won its sixth straight game, 6-1 over the Chicago Cubs .

With just one leadoff homer in his career, Roberts ripped a 3-2 offering from Cubs starter Matt Clement down the left field line. The ball hit the stands and ricocheted past left fielder Moises Alou , allowing Roberts to circle the bases for his second homer of the season.

"The inside-the-park homer felt good," Roberts said. "Two strikes, I was just trying to get the bat on the ball. When I saw it pass (third baseman Aramis) Ramirez, I knew I was going for two. I just kept an eye on (third base coach Glenn) Hoffman, he never told me to stop running. I am just as surprised as you are."

Paul Lo Duca had the Dodgers' first inside-the-park homer this season on June 8 against the Chicago White Sox , while Robin Ventura had one at Atlanta last Sunday. Roberts' shot gave Los Angeles its most inside-the-parkers since 1962, when it had five.

Ventura homered in a more conventional way later in the first, hitting a two-run blast over the right-center field wall to give the Dodgers a 4-0 cushion.

Making just his third start since joining Los Angeles on June 7, Alvarez (2-1) allowed just four singles, including three in the first two innings. The veteran lefthander struck out six without a walk en route to his 90th career win.

"I feel good about myself," Alvarez said. "I feel I did my job, gave the team a chance to win. That is the best I have felt in five years. The big key is I'm throwing the ball strong. I knew tonight I could not get behind in the count or I would be in trouble."

"Fantastic pitching," Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy said. "He hit both sides of the plate. Seven innings, no runs."

Clement (9-10) was not nearly as effective, surrendering five runs and six hits in five innings. Winless against Los Angeles since July 4, 2000, he walked four and struck out four.

"The inside-the-park homer is a first against me," Clement said. "Unfortunately, I was not able to execute. I made a bad pitch to Ventura, a bad pitch up."

After Roberts' homer, Clement fanned Lo Duca on three pitches. But Shawn Green walked and Jeromy Burnitz singled to put runners on the corners for Adrian Beltre , who lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

Ventura doubled the lead two pitches later with his second homer since being acquired from the New York Yankees at the July 31 trade deadline.

"Dave started off nice," Ventura said. "Guys are trying to have good at-bats. Anytime there are runs in the first, it's nice."

The Dodgers plated a run in the third on an RBI groundout by Ventura, and increased their advantage to 6-0 on Alex Cora 's run-scoring single in the sixth.

Damian Miller spoiled Los Angeles' shutout bid with a solo homer off Paul Shuey in the eighth.

"You cannot take anything away from Alvarez, he shut us down," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "We hit the ball better than what is indicated. It is hard to hit off that pitching staff."

Alou and Sammy Sosa combined to go 0-for-7 and have just one hit in 14 at-bats in the series.

"They are important to get out, they can create lots of problems," Tracy said. "We have pitched extraordinarily well this series. Hopefully, it will continue."


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