CHICAGO — The decision to release pitcher Carlos Perez closed a chapter in Dodger history and opened another.
Although the Dodgers owe Perez the rest of his $7.5-million salary this season, many in the organization applauded the move because the left-hander was ineffective from the moment he signed a three-year, $15.6-million contract.
With the support of Chairman Bob Daly, interim General Manager Dave Wallace and Manager Jim Tracy sent a message about the club's priorities.
"The Los Angeles Dodgers are very much getting back to the point where it's about the best guys we have to put numbers in the [victory] column of those standings," Tracy said. "The statement that we made [Friday] with the move we made [the release of Perez] attests to the fact that the dollars and cents issues are taken care of prior to spring training.
"Once we get out on the field, from my standpoint as the manager, it matters not to me whether you're making $200,000, $230,000, $5 million or $6 million. We're just using the guys out there who we feel give us the best chance to win a baseball game. I don't think about who's making what kind of money when I go to make decisions during the course of a game. I'm not going to do that."
Rout report: The Cubs became only the third team in the modern era and the first since Cleveland in 1928 to score eight or more runs in consecutive innings. And Chris Donnels was the first position player to pitch for the Dodgers since Jeff Hamilton in 1989.
The battle for the fifth rotation spot continues today when Eric Gagne faces the Cubs in the final game of the series.
In his previous two starts, the right-hander has pitched nine innings and given up 13 hits and 10 earned runs.
Gagne is 1-1 with a 5.56 earned-run average. Rookie right-hander Luke Prokopec, the other contender, is 3-0 with a 3.16 ERA.
One of them is expected to be optioned to triple-A Las Vegas when right-hander Andy Ashby (right elbow strain) returns from the disabled list.
"It's human nature to look around you and assess situations," Tracy said of the Gagne-Prokopec race. "You need to be careful with that because the best thing [Gagne] can do, or anybody can do, is make that statement right out there [on the field].
"If and when we have to make a decision, make it as difficult for us as possible. The way you do that is you go between the lines and you give us consistency and you give us good innings."
Tracy said right-hander Chan Ho Park, who left Friday's game because of back spasms, is expected to make his next scheduled start. Park said his back had improved after receiving treatment from trainer Stan Johnston. . . . Ashby, on the disabled list since April 18, plans to resume his throwing program Monday after taking a few days off. Ashby hopes to pitch in a simulated game this week.
(1-1, 5.56 ERA)
(3-1, 5.67 ERA)
Wrigley Field, 11:15 a.m. PDT.
Radio--KXTA (1150), KWKW (1330).
* Update--Gagne, making his first career appearance against the Cubs, had no-decisions in his previous two starts.
HOW THEY SCORED
FOURTH INNING: Cubs 4, Dodgers 0--Mueller walked. Sosa homered to left, his 10th. White singled to center. Hundley homered to left, his fourth. Stairs walked. Buford grounded into a double play. Tavarez struck out. Four runs, three hits.
SIXTH INNING: Cubs 4, Dodgers 1--Sheffield doubled to left. Green struck out. Karros singled to center, Sheffield scoring. Hansen grounded into a double play. One run, two hits.
SEVENTH INNING: Cubs 12, Dodgers 1--Adams pitching. Buford singled to left. Coomer, batting for Tavarez, singled to short, Buford taking second, then third on Cora's error. Young singled to right, Buford scoring with Coomer stopping at second. Gutierrez sacrifice and reached first on a fielder's choice, loading the bases. Mueller singled to right, Coomer and Young scoring with Gutierrez taking third. Sosa singled to center, Gutierrez scoring with Mueller stopping at second. White doubled to center, Mueller scoring with Sosa stopping at third. Nunez replaced Adams. Hundley struck out. Zuleta, batting for Stairs, homered to left, his fourth. Buford and Coomer struck out. Eight runs, seven hits, one error.
EIGHTH INNING: Cubs 20, Dodgers 1--With one out, Gutierrez doubled to left. Mueller walked. Sosa singled to third, Gutierrez scoring, Mueller taking third and Sosa taking second on Nunez's error. Matthews walked, loading the bases. Hundley struck out. Duncan walked, Mueller scoring. Buford singled to center, Sosa and Matthews scoring with Duncan stopping at second. Coomer singled to right, loading the bases. Ojeda reached first on Hansen's error, Duncan and Buford scoring with Coomer stopping at second. Gutierrez singled to center, Coomer scoring with Ojeda stopping at second. Mueller walked, loading the bases. Sosa walked, Ojeda scoring. Donnels replaced Nunez. Matthews grounded to first, Eight runs, five hits, two errors, three left.