Kazmir delivers 2nd straight dominant start

Kazmir delivers 2nd straight dominant start

CHICAGO -- Scott Kazmir picked a good time to start feeling like himself again.

Another significant injury cropped up Tuesday, when left-hander Alex Wood was placed on the 15-day disabled list with swelling in his pitching elbow, and the Dodgers will need more outings like the one Kazmir delivered in Tuesday night's 5-0 win over the Cubs.

Kazmir didn't get the win, which went to reliever Joe Blanton (3-2), but he matched Cubs ace Jake Arrieta through six innings. Kazmir didn't allow a run, struck out seven and walked one, retiring 14 of 15 batters after escaping a jam in the first inning by striking out Ben Zobrist with two runners on base.

"He's our No. 2 and he's had a lot of success at this level," manager Dave Roberts said. "To now be healthy and see the results, he's feeling good, and he gave us a big lift tonight."

This was Kazmir's second straight dominant start. In his previous outing, last week against the Reds, he struck out 12 in six innings and allowed just one run to earn the win. In his past two outings combined (12 innings), he has given up one run, five hits and three walks and struck out 19.

He has dealt with a thumb and wrist issue much of the season, but said it didn't bother him on Tuesday.

"I feel great," Kazmir said. "All my pitches, I was finishing them all night. So I'm just very excited. Going into it, you know you can't make too many mistakes out there [against Arrieta], so this was a big win for us."

The Cubs were impressed. Just as their pitching staff did on Monday, combining for a one-hitter, the Dodgers put up one of their own. Blanton and Adam Liberatore each had scoreless relief appearances, but Kazmir led the charge.

"He had really good command," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "His pitch count was in good order. All of his pitches were pertinent tonight. ... Fastball, cutter, slider, changeup, they were all very good. He pitched really, really well."

The Dodgers need him to continue pitching that way behind ace Clayton Kershaw if they're going to weather a storm of injuries to their rotation. Right-hander Brandon McCarthy isn't expected back from Tommy John surgery until later this season, left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu is working his way back from the disabled list and right-hander Kenta Maeda is being watched closely after being hit in the pitching hand by a line drive in his last start.

Kazmir could help ease the pain if his effectiveness continues. Asked when he last felt as good as the past two starts, he didn't hesitate to answer.

"Last year," he said. "It's kind of just getting everything in sync. That's where I'm at right now."

Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Dodgers on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.