Los Angeles, CA – Hanley Ramirez belted a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning and Ricky Nolasco spun a gem as the Los Angeles Dodgers took the rubber match of a three-game set from the Chicago Cubs, 4-0.
Nolasco (11-9) went eight innings, yielding just three hits and a walk while matching a season-high with 11 strikeouts. The former Marlin has given up just four runs over his last 33 1/3 innings.
"My breaking stuff was pretty good," said Nolasco. "It feels good to be able to help this team. Mentally, I feel focused. To be in a rotation with Kershaw and Greinke is an honor."
Andre Ethier provided two hits and a homer in the victory, LA's ninth in its last 10 tries against Chicago. The Dodgers also own a major league-best 31-8 record since the all-star break.
Edwin Jackson (7-14) struck out five while surrendering four runs -- two earned -- on six hits over 6 2/3 innings.
"He threw the ball pretty well," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "His velocity was good. Not a lot of hard contact besides the two homers."
Ramirez and Ethier's solo shots in the first and fourth innings, respectively, put Los Angeles on top 2-0 heading into the fifth inning, when they tacked on a few more runs to assume control of the game.
Juan Uribe and Tim Federowicz popped consecutive singles to left before Nolasco grounded softly back to Jackson. Jackson opted to go to third with his throw, which shot past Cody Ransom and into left field for an error. Uribe scored on the errant throw before Skip Schumaker, pinch-hitting for Yasiel Puig, followed with an RBI-single to right.
"I wasn't prepared well for each pitch," explained Puig. "I wanted to finish the game but when it was explained to me why, I understood the decision. I'll come back and give 100%."
The Dodgers stranded runners at second and third, but the 4-0 edge was all Nolasco needed.
"I like Yasiel. I'm not trying to hurt him," said manager Don Mattingly. "I'm trying to do the best for the ball club. Today was a simple decision at that point in the game, Skip (Schumaker) gave us a better chance to win."
The right-hander retired the side in the first, third, fourth and seventh innings and struck out every Cubs' starter other than first baseman Anthony Rizzo at least once. Kenley Jansen pitched around a two-out walk to finish the game.
Los Angeles improved to 15-1-4 in its last 20 series' ... The Dodgers improved to 21-6 this month, matching a club record for most wins in a calendar month, most recently accomplished in Aug. 2006 ... Sveum was ejected in the first inning by first base umpire Lance Barksdale for arguing a check swing ... Welington Castillo had two of Chicago's three hits.