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Dodgers 2, Mets 0

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LOS ANGELES (AP)

A pair of Ks was plenty for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hiroki Kuroda threw eight outstanding innings before Hong-Chih Kuo closed out a 2-0 victory over the offensively inept New York Mets on Thursday night.

It was the Dodgers' second consecutive 2-0 win, having edged San Francisco a night earlier, for their first back-to-back shutout victories since June 1-2 against Arizona.

''Not a good outing, it was a great outing,'' Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said. ''To put wins back-to-back is the most important thing. We're not hitting a lot, so we certainly need every bit of that.''

The Mets lost their fourth in a row and fell to 1-7 on their 11-game road trip, with three shutout losses.

''We still aren't able to put anything together,'' manager Jerry Manuel said. ''We've got to eventually turn this thing around. We're not doing ourselves any good by playing close games and losing them. Somebody's got to find a way to get hot and carry us for a minute.''

The Mets are scoreless in their last 17 innings after going 24 straight innings without a run last weekend in San Francisco. They've been held to four or fewer runs in 13 consecutive games, going 3-10 in that span.

''We knew coming in that this was going to be a big road trip,'' Jeff Francoeur said. ''I mean, we weren't expecting to go 8-3, but at the same time, we weren't expecting to be 1-7 with three games left. We're not helping our pitchers out.''

The Dodgers gave Kuroda just enough support, with Matt Kemp hitting a homer and driving in both runs.

''Two great performances in a row,'' Kemp said. ''Kuroda came in and pitched strikes, kept the ball on the ground and kept runners off base.''

Kuroda outpitched countryman Hisanori Takahashi in the sixth major league meeting of starters born in Japan. Takahashi, who played for the Yomiuri Giants, and Kuroda, who pitched for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, faced each other six times in Japan, with Kuroda going 4-0 in those matchups.

''I really didn't know I was 4-0. You should've told me. I would've pitched differently,'' Kuroda said through a translator.

Kuroda (8-8) allowed five hits, struck out four and walked one. The right-hander ended a personal three-game skid with his first win since June 26 against the New York Yankees. He is the top Japan-born starting pitcher in major league history, with a 3.67 ERA in 71 games.

''There were so many lefties and my outside sinker and my split-finger fastball were really good,'' Kuroda said.

Dodgers catcher Russell Martin threw out David Wright and Jose Reyes trying to steal, two plays that Kuroda said ''really changed the momentum of the game.''

Kuo, who is Taiwanese, pitched the ninth for his third save. The left-hander hasn't given up a run in 16 1-3 innings at home.

Takahashi (7-5) allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked two. The left-hander retired 10 in a row during one stretch.

''I think (Takahashi) wanted to prove that he can still start and be a contributor at this level,'' Manuel said. ''That's the motivation that he has. He wants to stay in the rotation, which is what you want.''

Kuroda and Takahashi planned to have dinner together after the game.

''I'm happy because I did what I'm supposed to do, so I don't feel any frustration right now because that's baseball,'' Takahashi said through a translator. ''I did a great job and he did a great job.''

The Mets had the potential tying run at the plate in the ninth after Kuo walked Wright with one out, but Ike Davis struck out swinging and Francoeur grounded out to third to end the game.

Kuroda intentionally walked Luis Castillo to load the bases in the fifth, then retired Takahashi on a groundout to end the inning.

Kemp provided the Dodgers with an insurance run leading off the seventh, hitting his 17th home run into the left-field pavilion on a 1-0 pitch from Takahashi.

Kemp's two-out double in the first bounced off the right-field wall, allowing Jamey Carroll extra time to score from first after he walked.

NOTES: Torre said All-Star closer Jonathan Broxton was sent home after eating something the previous night that made him sick. ... The Mets designated RHP Fernando Nieve for assignment. ... The Dodgers won consecutive 2-0 games for the first time since June 16-17, 1963, when they beat the Cubs at home and Giants on the road. ... Mets GM Omar Minaya said Manuel's job is safe despite the team's current slump. Manuel's two-year contract expires at season's end. ... Torre said RHP Carlos Monasterios (3-2) will start Saturday. Torre said the only other option was RHP James McDonald, but that he's needed more in the bullpen. ... Dodgers bench coach Bob Schaefer served his one-game suspension in connection with Tuesday's loss to the Giants. ... The Dodgers set a record with their 857th consecutive game at home without a rainout. The last washout was on April 17, 2000.

Tagged: Hong-Chih Kuo, Matt Kemp, Hiroki Kuroda, Hisanori Takahashi, Dodgers, Mets

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