L.A.'s Perez outduels 300-game winner

CHICAGO (AP) -- Steve Finley is enjoying his worst-to-first job
change while providing an extra offensive push for the streaking
Los Angeles Dodgers.

"We're winning. It's great," Finley said Friday after driving
in three runs, and the Dodgers scored six times in the ninth to
beat the Chicago Cubs 8-1.

"We have the momentum. Everybody is pushing in one direction
here. Everybody knows to just go out and get the job done, whatever
it takes. You win a lot of games that way," he added.

Finley, 13-for-26 in 10 games since being traded from last-place
Arizona to the first-place Dodgers, hit an RBI single to break a
1-1 tie in the sixth.

He added a two-run single in the ninth when the Dodgers took
advantage of Chicago's wilting bullpen and the Cubs' wobbly

"We squeaked a hit through whenever we needed it and we broke
it open there in the ninth," Finley said.

The NL West leaders won for the 28th time in 37 games.

Pinch-hitter Robin Ventura and Milton Bradley hit RBI singles
off Kyle Farnsworth in the ninth, Shawn Green added another
run-scoring single off Jon Leicester, and Chicago's Moises Alou and
Michael Barrett made errors.

Alou missed Alex Cora's fly for a two-base error and Barrett
dropped Farnsworth's throw on a bases-loaded comebacker.

"The ninth inning, that was a nightmare with a couple of
errors," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said after his team's fifth loss
in seven games.

"You do that and a feeding frenzy starts. Every ball they hit
after that started finding holes."

Odalis Perez (6-4) gave up six hits and a run in 6 2-3 innings,
and outpitched Greg Maddux.

In his first start since winning his 300th game last Saturday in
San Francisco, Maddux (11-8) gave up eight hits and two runs in 6
1-3 innings. He was greeted with a standing ovation in his first
at-bat and stepped back to wave to the crowd.

"Odalis pitched a good game, mixed his pitches well and had us
off balance," Maddux said. "I got outpitched."

After Cesar Izturis doubled with one out in the sixth, Finley
hit a hard grounder up the middle that went off diving second
baseman Mark Grudzielanek's glove for an RBI single to give the
Dodgers a 2-1 lead.

Maddux had retired 14 of 15 to that point after giving up a
first-inning run.

In the first, Izturis led off with a single, stole second and
moved to third on a sacrifice by Finley. Izturis scored on
Bradley's bouncer to first that became an infield single when
Derrek Lee looked home and was left with no play.

Singles in the bottom half by Ramon Martinez, Sammy Sosa and
Alou evened the score.

The Cubs put two on with one out in the fifth, but Sosa's bid
for a homer came up short when his drive to left-center field was
pushed back by a chilly 9 mph wind.

"If there is not any wind blowing, that ball should go a long
way," Perez said. "Sometimes you're going to be lucky and
sometimes you're not. He hit it as hard as he can. I was lucky the
wind was blowing in and the ball stayed in the ballpark."

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the seventh and drove Maddux
out. But for the second day in a row, Chicago center fielder Corey
Patterson caught a liner in center and fired a perfect strike home
for a double play. This time his peg nailed Brent Mayne, who tried
to bowl over Barrett.

Patterson also threw out Adrian Beltre at third in the eighth
when he tried to advance on Finley's flyball. On Thursday, his peg
got San Diego's Khalil Greene at the plate when he tried to score
from third on a fly.
^Notes:@ Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez sat out to rest his sore groin. He
left Thursday's game against the Padres after four innings. His
replacement, Martinez, reached base four straight times. ...
Bradley returned to Los Angeles' lineup after missing Thursday's
game with a sore hamstring. ... Cubs reliever LaTroy Hawkins began
serving a three-game suspension for a run-in last month with umpire
Tim Tschida.