Sean Gallagher is still learning on the job in his rookie season, trying to let the advice of his teammates sink in while going through a few growing pains.
While Gallagher pitched five strong innings on Friday night against Los Angeles, a few walks and a lack of hitting by the Cubs offense added up to a 3-0 loss to the Dodgers.
Gallagher allowed two runs on three hits, striking out six and walking three. But the Cubs couldn't figure out a way to get to Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda, who shut them down on four hits in a complete game shutout, setting a personal high with 11 strikeouts.
"Impressive," manager Lou Piniella said. "We didn't get many good swings off him. We only had one inning, basically, where we mounted any offense."
Kuroda became the first Dodgers pitcher to shut out the Cubs since Derek Lowe did it on Aug. 31, 2005 at Wrigley Field. The Dodgers beat the Cubs for the first time in five games this year, and tied the all-time series at 1,011 games apiece dating back to 1890.
The Cubs only real scoring opportunity came in the fourth when Ryan Theriot and Derrek Lee singled with no outs. But Aramis Ramirez struck out and Kosuke Fukudome grounded into a double play to end the inning. Replays showed Fukudome was clearly safe, and that first base umpire Derryl Cousins blew the call.
"Boy, I'll tell you, we haven't gotten a close call in this series yet," Piniella said. "Everything has gone against us."
Kuroda retired the last 10 batters he faced, as the Cubs went down meekly in the final three innings. Piniella pointed out that Kuroda was still throwing the ball in the 93-94 m.p.h. range in the ninth inning, showing no signs of tiring.
The Dodgers took the lead in the first on a walk by Delwyn Young and an RBI double to center by Jeff Kent that had Jim Edmonds turning in circles at the wall.
A leadoff walk to James Loney in the fourth led to another run when Matt Kemp singled and Blake DeWitt beat out an infield hit to short, loading the bases with no one out. Danny Ardoin brought home the second run with a grounder to short, before Gallagher struck out the final two hitters to leave with minimal damage.
"A couple walks, and they both scored," Piniella said. "He threw the ball fine. He needs to continue to work on his breaking ball, but he went out and gave us five innings with a chance to win a baseball game."
"That's what you're taught since you were little," Gallagher said. "Walks will come back to kill you later on. And both of my runs today happened because of guys I walked."
Ardoin brought home another run in the sixth on a suicide squeeze off Kevin Hart with runners on the corners and one out. Loney scored easily from third, and Ardoin reached when Mark DeRosa failed to cover first on the play.
Gallagher dropped to 3-2 with a 4.42 earned-run average. He wasn't pleased with his performance, despite a relatively strong outing.
"We lost, so I'm not happy," he said. "You'd like to go out there every day and win. Today just wasn't our day. There are little things I'll take from this game, and go from there."