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Chi. Cubs (61-58)011000000281
L.A. Dodgers (72-50) «11000410x7110

Martin's tie-breaking slam sends Dodgers past Cubs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- It was hard to tell who needed the shot of confidence more -- Russell Martin or the Los Angeles Dodgers.

They both benefited when his grand slam snapped a sixth-inning tie, propelling the Dodgers to a 7-2 victory against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night in the series opener.

"It was big for us. Russell Martin needed that," manager Joe Torre said. "It broke open a tie game and just gave Russell something to go on. We all pull for each other. They know when guys are struggling and trying to find it. The fact that Russell hit it really elevated everybody's mood."

Martin has been searching for some offense all month to no avail, hitting only .246. He went 0 for 3 against St. Louis a night earlier and hadn't connected since July 26 against Florida. He has only four home runs this season.

"There's nothing I can change in the past. I haven't had a great season so far," he said. "Hopefully, this ignites a little fire within me. We haven't been playing our best baseball lately. We believe in what we have here. It just takes a few guys to step up."

Martin launched the first pitch he saw from Angel Guzman (2-3) just over the left-field fence, breaking a 2-2 tie and earning the catcher a curtain call.

"I put a good swing on the ball, really just trying to get one run in," he said. "I haven't trotted around the bases very often this year. It's only my second home run at home."

Martin's second career grand slam provided some much-needed offense for the struggling Dodgers, who had scored three runs or fewer in five of their previous seven games. They had lost each of those five games and saw their NL West lead shrink to 3½ games on Colorado in that stretch.

"We need to string something together," Torre said. "We've been back-and-forth with this thing."

Los Angeles still owns the NL's best record at 72-50, although the club is 16-18 since the All-Star break, including an 8-11 mark this month.

The Cubs have their own problems, going 4-10 in their past 14 games to drop seven games behind NL Central-leading St. Louis.

"That's what happens when you don't score runs," Aramis Ramirez said. "We had the pitching, but we didn't hit with men in scoring position. I can't figure it out because we've got guys in here who can do better than what we're doing right now. We've got talent. We just can't get it done."

Ronald Belisario (2-2) got two outs for his first victory since April 30. He walked one five days after coming off the 15-day DL.

Jeff Weaver made a spot start in place of right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, who is on the 15-day DL with a concussion after being hit in the head by a line drive last weekend in Arizona. The right-hander gave up two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked two.

Guzman took the loss, yielding four runs and three hits in one inning, while striking out one and walking one.

"I was trying to be aggressive in the strike zone and trying to get a groundball. It didn't happen, but I don't think I'm going to change my approach to the hitters," he said. "I'm going to try to stay aggressive, the way I've been doing it the entire year. Two bad outings won't bring me down."

Tom Gorzelanny got off to a rocky start for the Cubs, giving up three hits and a run to the first four batters he faced and committing an error. Chicago rallied twice to tie the game before Martin's grand slam put it out of reach.

"That was pretty big," said Matt Kemp, who went 2 for 4. "We needed that and Russ needed that. He's been hitting the ball pretty hard the last few weeks right at people."

Casey Blake's RBI single extended the Dodgers' lead to 7-2 in the seventh. Manny Ramirez went 3 for 4 coming off a hitless night against the Cardinals on Wednesday.

The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead in the second on Rafael Furcal's RBI single with two outs. Their first run came on Andre Ethier's fielder's choice in the first.

Kosuke Fukudome, who went 3 for 3 with a walk, tied the game at 1 on his career-high 11th home run in the second. The Cubs tied the game in the third on a single by Aramis Ramirez. They loaded the bases but Alfonso Soriano and Jeff Baker struck out to end the inning.

Notes

  • Kuroda is eligible to return on Aug. 31, the start of a four-game series against Arizona.
  • The Dodgers improved to 1,015-1,014 in their history against the Cubs.
  • Martin's first grand slam came on April 27, 2007, against Pittsburgh at home.
  • Penny Marshall was a pregame dugout visitor with Dodgers manager Joe Torre. Chicago native Jim Belushi got booed when he was spotted wearing a Cubs cap.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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The Dodgers and their fans seem to be pleased with Russell Martin's decisive grand slam.  (AP)
The Dodgers and their fans seem to be pleased with Russell Martin's decisive grand slam. (AP)

Players of the Game
Los Angeles

R. Martin
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
Chicago

K. Fukudome
AB 3
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Chicago Cubs
Ryan Theriot, SS5010010 .299
Milton Bradley, RF4100001 .257
Derrek Lee, 1B5020011 .295
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4011001 .322
Kosuke Fukudome, CF3131100 .277
Alfonso Soriano, LF4000014 .241
Jeff Baker, 2B4010025 .287
Koyie Hill, C2000201 .228
Tom Gorzelanny, P2000012 .222
   a- Aaron Miles, PH1000002 .181
    Angel Guzman, P0000000 .000
    Esmailin Caridad, P0000000 .000
    Kevin Gregg, P0000000 .000
   b- Jake Fox, PH1000010 .290
Totals3528237  
a-grounded out for Gorzelanny in the 6th
b-struck out for Gregg in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jeff Baker (9, Weaver)
HR - Kosuke Fukudome (11, Weaver)
RBI - Aramis Ramirez (38), Kosuke Fukudome (45)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Tom Gorzelanny (1, Throwing)
Chicago Cubs
Tom Gorzelanny 5522140 4.94
Angel Guzman (L,2-3) 1344111 3.33
Esmailin Caridad 1311020 3.68
Kevin Gregg 1000000 4.40
IBB - Loney by Angel Guzman
Pitches-Strikes - Tom Gorzelanny 82-52, Angel Guzman 20-11, Esmailin Caridad 25-18, Kevin Gregg 14-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tom Gorzelanny 7-4, Angel Guzman 2-0, Kevin Gregg 2-1
Batters Faced - Tom Gorzelanny 21, Angel Guzman 7, Esmailin Caridad 6, Kevin Gregg 3
Los Angeles Dodgers
Rafael Furcal, SS5121020 .261
Matt Kemp, CF4020010 .310
Andre Ethier, RF4001012 .283
Manny Ramirez, LF4230000 .313
Casey Blake, 3B4121011 .281
Orlando Hudson, 2B3010002 .295
James Loney, 1B3100112 .277
Russell Martin, C3214100 .262
Jeff Weaver, P1000010 .250
    Ronald Belisario, P0000000 .000
   a- Tony Abreu, PH1000000 .167
    Ramon Troncoso, P0000000 .000
    Guillermo Mota, P1000000 .333
Totals33711727  
a-grounded out for Belisario in the 6th
Batting
2B - Manny Ramirez (20, Caridad)
HR - Russell Martin (4, Guzman)
SH - Orlando Hudson (7), Jeff Weaver (2)
RBI - Rafael Furcal (35), Andre Ethier (83), Casey Blake (68), Russell Martin 4 (38)
2-OUT RBI - Rafael Furcal (10), Casey Blake (29)
Team LOB - 6
Los Angeles Dodgers
Jeff Weaver 5.1522241 3.69
Ronald Belisario (W,2-3) 0.2000100 2.21
Ramon Troncoso 1100010 2.73
Guillermo Mota 2200020 3.45
IBB - Hill by Jeff Weaver, by Fukudome
HBP - Bradley (by Jeff Weaver)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Weaver 84-50, Ronald Belisario 10-4, Ramon Troncoso 18-9, Guillermo Mota 44-27
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Weaver 6-6, Ronald Belisario 2-0, Ramon Troncoso 2-0
Batters Faced - Jeff Weaver 24, Ronald Belisario 3, Ramon Troncoso 4, Guillermo Mota 8
Game Information
Attendance - 48974
Game Time - 3:01
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - Mark Carlson