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Dodgers beat Cubs 7-0 behind Padilla

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Vicente Padilla pitched eight innings of two-hit ball and James Loney hit a three-homer off Carlos Silva before the Cubs pitcher was ejected in the second inning, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 7-0 victory over Chicago on Sunday night in baseball's last game before the All-Star break.

The Dodgers took three of four from the Cubs and are tied with Colorado for second in the NL West, two games back of surprising San Diego. The sluggish Cubs finished the first half 9½ games back of NL Central-leading Cincinnati.

Padilla (4-2) struck out six and walked one in his longest outing of the season, improving to 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA in his last three starts. The right-hander artfully mixed 55-mph curveballs with fastballs clocked at 95 mph to baffle the Cubs' lineup.

Starlin Castro doubled leading off the sixth for Chicago's first hit and Ryan Theriot led off the seventh with another double. Theriot also doubled in the ninth against All-Star fill-in Hong-Chih Kuo.

Padilla retired three straight after Castro's hit and escaped another jam after Theriot's first double. He hit All-Star Marlon Byrd with a pitch but Aramis Ramirez popped out, Xavier Nady flied out to left and Alfonso Soriano hit a fly ball to right to end the seventh.

Loney connected in the first, giving Padilla an early cushion. He hit Silva's first pitch into the right-field pavilion for his sixth homer.

Rafael Furcal hit a leadoff double and Matt Kemp walked to set up Loney's drive.

The Dodgers added three more runs in the second. Kemp hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly, Loney had an RBI single and Mitch Atkins walked Xavier Paul to force in the third run.

Silva didn't last long. He was ejected by umpire Brian Runge for arguing a close play at first base in the second inning.

Loney hit a grounder down the first-base line and Xavier Nady smothered the ball, then tried to outrace Loney to the bag. A replay showed Nady got his foot on the bag first, but Runge ruled Loney safe. Silva, who ran over to cover, protested vehemently to Runge.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella came out to unsuccessfully argue the call, a night after being ejected.

Silva allowed six runs and six hits in 1 1-3 innings, walked three and struck out two.

NOTES: The Dodgers optioned RHP John Ely to Triple-A Albuquerque and recalled RHP Jon Link from their top farm club. "He needs to get back on track," manager Joe Torre said about Ely. ... Piniella said he'll spend the three-day All-Star break boating on Lake Michigan with his wife, son and future daughter-in-law. ... Dodgers PA announcer Eric Smith paid tribute to late Yankees announcer Bob Sheppard, who died Sunday, by saying each player's number a second time after introducing them.