Score early and hang on. Not the greatest approach maybe, but over the course of a six-month season, you win games any and every way you can.
So the Dodgers scored a pair of runs in the first and second innings, held on as Carlos Frias flirted with constant trouble and then received another strong four innings from their bullpen to beat the Cubs, 4-0, on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
The victory enabled the Dodgers to split the four-game series with the Cubs.
Helping the L.A. cause was a shaky Jon Lester, the left-hander the Cubs signed in the off-season for a cool $155 million. Lester lasted only four innings, his shortest outing of the season, walking four and allowing four hits.
The Dodgers did a poor job of finishing off a clearly laboring Lester, but at least they struck early.
In the first inning, Jimmy Rollins bunted for a single and Lester loaded the bases with walks to Justin Turner and Scott Van Slyke. Howie Kendrick made him pay with a two-run double.
In the second, a walk and Enrique Hernandez triple scored one run, and Rollins looped a single to center to score Hernandez with the second.
Lester (4-6) retired the Dodgers in order in his last two innings, and they never could add a run against four Chicago relievers.
Frias, meanwhile, was going through an inconsistent outing himself. He was in trouble in each of his five innings, but was bailed out by two double plays and left-fielder Alex Guerrero throwing Chris Coghlan out at the plate.
Frias evened his record at 5-5, despite allowing seven hits and three walks in his five innings — but no runs.
Joel Peralta, J.P. Howell, Yimi Garcia and Kenley Jansen each threw one scoreless inning of relief to allow the Dodgers to finish off their 10th shutout of the season.
For Jansen, whom the Dodgers were having trouble getting into games, it was his third appearance in as many games. He retired the side in order with one strikeout. In 14 2/3 innings this season, he has struck out 24 and not walked a batter.