The Dodgers continued their amazing run on Sunday, as Stephen Fife and the bullpen guided the Dodgers to a 1-0 victory over the Cubs to complete a four-game sweep at Wrigley Field, the first sweep by the Dodgers in Chicago of four games or more in 25 years.
The win, coupled with Arizona's loss at Fenway Park on Sunday, gave the Dodgers their biggest lead of the season, at 5½ games over the Diamondbacks in the National League West. The Dodgers have gained 15 games in the standings in their last 37 contests.
In their last 38 games the Dodgers are 31-7, the best mark for the franchise since 1953.
The Dodgers extended their own franchise record with a 14th consecutive road victory, but the celebration was muted because of the shoulder injury to Hanley Ramirez. The Dodgers' shortstop jammed his shoulder on a catch in the seventh inning, and will be evaluated again on Monday.
Ramirez was in a sling after the game and will have an MRI on Monday, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Manager Don Mattingly told reporters that Ramirez didn't feel anything pop.
For what it's worth, Ramirez himself said he thought he would avoid the disabled list, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
On a day the wind was blowing in at Wrigley Field, the Dodgers hit several fly balls hard that died on or around the warning track. The only run of the game was scored in the second inning, when A.J. Ellis followed a pair of walks with a single to center field to score Ramirez.
Fife made that hold up by pitching scoreless ball into the sixth inning and lowered his ERA to 2.47, making a strong case of his own to keep the fifth starter job he held before getting placed on the disabled list.
Fife left with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning, but Chris Withrow came in and saved his bacon by getting out of the inning. Withrow also pitched the seventh, followed by J.P. Howell in the eighth and Kenley Jansen in the ninth. Those three combined to retire the final 11 Cubs in order to finish off the sweep.
Jansen struck out the side in the ninth, extending his streak to 25 straight batters retired, including 13 by strikeout. Not bad for someone making his ninth appearance in 13 days.
Dodgers pitchers allowed just six runs in four games to the Cubs, including two straight shutouts and 23 consecutive scoreless innings to end the series.
The Dodgers move on to another NL Central foe, opening a four-game series in St. Louis on Monday. Zack Greinke, on five days rest, gets the call for Los Angeles in the opener, a 4 p.m. PT start, against Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals. While Time Warner Cable customers might not see the KCAL broadcast, the game will also be available on ESPN, at least in some markets.
WP - Stephen Fife (4-3): 5⅓ IP, 7 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
LP - Carlos Villanueva (2-8): 6 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (17): 1 IP, 3 strikeouts