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Dodgers win again

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Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Wilson Alvarez threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings and Alex Cora finished an incredible 18-pitch at-bat with a two-run homer, as the Los Angeles Dodgers won their sixth straight game with a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs . Shawn Green and Adrian Beltre also drove in runs for the Dodgers , who have won nine of their last 11 games and own the best record in the majors at 22-10. Beltre extended his hitting streak to 15 games. The Dodgers have homered in six straight games.

Alvarez (2-0), making his second straight start after eight relief appearances to begin the season, was brilliant. He limited the Cubs to five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.

"You can't pitch any better than Wilson Alvarez pitched tonight, unless it was his last start in Pittsburgh," said Dodgers manager Jim Tracy. "Just a tremendous performance."

The veteran lefthander, who also contributed a hit to start a two-run rally, has surrendered just six hits in 14 2/3 scoreless innings in his two starts this year.

Chicago starter Matt Clement (5-2), who had won his last five outings, pitched well in defeat. He gave up four runs on seven hits in six-plus innings.

Clement was trailing 2-0 heading to the seventh and had thrown just 86 pitches after walking Jason Grabowski to start the inning. Cora was next at the plate and battled the righthander.

"The at-bat by Alex Cora was as good as I've ever seen," Tracy said. "To have that result was phenomenal."

After 17 pitches, including 14 straight foul balls, Cora kept one fair and lifted his second homer of the season over the right field fence for a 4-0 lead.

"It was fun. [Clement] made some great pitches. I was really focused," Cora said.

Alvarez left the game after Ramon Martinez walked with two outs in the eighth, but Guillermo Mota induced a grounder off the bat of Sammy Sosa to end the inning.

Mota retired the side in order in the ninth to close it out.

The Cubs had a mild threat in the second when Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee started the inning with singles. Alvarez, though, struck out Corey Patterson and Michael Barrett , then got Clement on a grounder to second.

The Dodgers broke through against Clement for two runs in the third, but they did not hit the ball very hard and received a couple of favorable breaks.

Alvarez started the rally with a bloop single and Paul Lo Duca reached on an infield dribbler with two outs. Milton Bradley then hit a soft bouncer to the left side of the mound. Clement fielded the ball awkwardly, fell to his knees and looped a throw to first base that appeared to just beat Bradley, who was ruled safe to load the bases.

Green then hit a hopper toward third that Ramirez mishandled, allowing a run to score. The play was originally ruled an error, but later was changed to a hit. Beltre then followed with another slow grounder to third that Ramirez again had trouble handling, and the late throw gave Beltre an infield hit with an RBI for a 2-0 lead.

The teams did not have another baserunner until Patterson singled with two outs in the seventh, but Alvarez fanned Barrett to end the inning.

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