Blanks-giving: LA carves up Cubbies again

Blanks-giving: LA carves up Cubbies again

LOS ANGELES -- A dominant pitching performance by Brandon McCarthy and four-run fifth inning by the offense led the Dodgers to their second straight shutout of the Cubs on Saturday, this one a 5-0 win that clinched the series.

The Dodgers have won eight of their last 10 games and their last six wins over the Cubs, including the postseason, have been shutouts.

"We haven't played badly," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "We just haven't hit the ball, and they got timely hits when they needed it. They pitched well, they beat us. That's it."

Cubs desperately need to end SoCal slump

Cubs righty John Lackey took a no-hitter into the fourth inning and got the first two outs on four pitches, but that's when the Dodgers came alive. After a double and a walk, Chase Utley gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead with a single.

Utley's RBI single

Then Lackey walked McCarthy to lead off the fifth and Chris Taylor followed with a two-run homer. Utley added a two-out, two-run single, and the Dodgers had a 5-0 lead. That was key, Maddon said.

"Those are the big plays -- that home run [by Adrian Gonzalez on Friday] and the home run today really separated it," Maddon said. "And they're pitching so well, once you give them a little room like that, they take advantage of it."

Lackey (4-5) was done after five innings having allowed five runs on six hits. He struck out five.

McCarthy (5-1) held the Cubs to two hits over six innings but was relieved to start the seventh after only 79 pitches because of what the club called right knee tendinitis. He left for an MRI exam postgame and wasn't available for comment.

McCarthy's gem cut short by knee tendinitis

McCarthy's scoreless start

Ross Stripling worked the last three innings for his first-career save, just two days after Hyun-Jin Ryu recorded a four-inning save in his first big league relief appearance.

"We put together this roster where you can see Strip can give you multiple innings," Roberts said. "I think that to be able to rest guys like Petey [Pedro Baez], [Josh] Fields … for those guys to eat up innings and lighten up the workload overall is kind of what we envisioned."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Going yard: Taylor's sixth home run of the season stretched the Dodgers' 1-0 lead to 3-0 in the fifth and jump-started a four-run rally. According to Statcast™, the two-run shot was projected to travel 354 feet and had an exit velocity of 97 mph.

Taylor's two-run home run

Coming up clutch: Five batters after Taylor's homer, Utley faced a two-out, full-count situation and singled into right field, giving the Dodgers a 5-0 advantage.

Utley's two-run single

"The guy's a pro," Lackey said. "He's been doing this well for a long time."

QUOTABLE
"It's great. I've been on the other side of that, playing the Dodgers and getting shut out and having Kershaw looming. Our guys aren't getting too high, and we know we're good. It's definitely nice to know you have your ace going tomorrow." -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, on Clayton Kershaw taking the mound with the Dodgers seeking a sweep on Sunday

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Cubs rookie Ian Happ hit a line drive into center field and legged out a double in the fourth inning for the Cubs' first hit of the game, but it ended up being a single. Roberts challenged the safe call at second, and a review determined that Happ came off the bag momentarily on his popup slide while shortstop Corey Seager was still tagging his leg.

"The way McCarthy was throwing, you want to help him, and that was a big play and a heads up by Seager to keep the tag on him," Taylor said.

Taylor nabs Happ after challenge

SAY WHAT?
When Lackey was called out on strikes in the third inning, he started for the dugout, then came back to talk to home-plate umpire Tripp Gibson. What was that about?

"He said something to me," Lackey said. "I was walking off, minding my own business. He called strike three, and I was laughing. He said, 'You can laugh all you want.' He started something with me. I had a problem with that. I was just walking off, minding my own business."

WHAT'S NEXT
Cubs: Jon Lester gets the start in Sunday's finale, coming off his first complete game of the season in a win over the Giants. He gave up one run on four hits, and needed 99 pitches to go the distance. The lefty is 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA in three career regular-season starts at Dodger Stadium, where he won Game 5 of the National League Championship Series last October. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. CT.

Dodgers: The Dodgers give the ball to Kershaw for the series finale at 1:10 p.m. PT. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner is 7-2 with 2.01 ERA this season. In eight career starts against Chicago, the southpaw has a 2.18 ERA.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.