Nomo improves to 5-1 over his last seven starts

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers were picked up by their
pitching -- again.

Hideo Nomo scattered four hits over seven innings and Eric Gange
saved his 41st straight game this season as the Dodgers beat the
Chicago Cubs 3-0 Sunday without getting an extra-base hit.

Gagne's 41st consecutive save is the longest streak to start a
season in major league history. He has saved 49 in a row dating
back to last Aug. 28, the second-longest streak in big league
history to Tom Gordon, who converted 54 saves in a row for Boston
from April 19, 1998, to June 5, 1999.

"I don't think you would rather have anyone else on the mound
in a close situation other than him," said Dodgers left fielder
Jeromy Burnitz.

Gagne also extended his scoreless streak to 21 innings, the
longest by a Dodgers pitcher this season.

Nomo (14-9) struck out three and walked four. He is 5-1 over his
last seven starts, the only loss coming Aug. 1 at Atlanta.

Paul Quantrill pitched a scoreless eighth before giving way to

"The bullpen has been phenomenal all year long," Los Angeles
catcher Paul Lo Duca said. "If we get to the bullpen we're going
to win a lot of games."

The Dodgers have given up three runs or less in 11 of 16 games
in August and they have scored five or more runs in just six of
those games. Los Angels is 10-6 in that span.

Randall Simon went 1-for-4 in his first game for the Cubs since
being acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh on Saturday. He made a
diving stop at first base to rob Nomo of a hit and also made an

The Dodgers scored twice in the fourth inning on RBI singles
from Adrian Beltre and Jolbert Cabrera. The Cubs intentionally
walked Robin Ventura to get to Cabrera, who delivered a sharp
single to center that brought home Beltre.

Los Angeles added a run in the eighth off Chicago reliever Mark
Guthrie. Dave Roberts singled, went to second when a pickoff
attempt got by Simon and was sacrificed to third. Burnitz then
singled to right to bring him home.

"We got a couple of opportunities and cashed in," Dodgers
manager Jim Tracy said. "We did just enough hitting to win."

With the win the Dodgers took the three-game series from the
Cubs and went 4-2 against Chicago this year. Los Angeles has won 10
of its last 14 games.

The Cubs consistently got men on base but couldn't push a run
across. They stranded runners in each of the first five innings and
left nine on overall. Sammy Sosa came up in his first three at-bats
with runners on but struck out twice and grounded out.

"Nomo was pitching great today, no question about it," Sosa
said. "We went up there and tried to do what we could, but good
pitching is going to stop good hitting and that's what happened

Chicago had men on first and third with two out in the seventh
when Kenny Lofton was caught trying to steal second. He jumped up
and protested the call by umpire Chris Guccione.

"That was one of those phantom tags," Cubs manager Dusty Baker
said. "That was a big play in the ballgame."

Carlos Zambrano (11-9) was effective for Chicago but had his
five-game winning streak snapped. It was his first loss since July
13 at Atlanta. He gave up five hits and two runs over seven
innings, striking out five and walking three.

The Cubs remain a half-game behind the Astros in the National
League Central. They travel to Houston for a three-game series
starting Tuesday.

Game notes
Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne sang during the seventh-inning
stretch, drawing cheers and chants from the crowd. ... Simon took
an early flight Sunday so he could be in the lineup.