CHICAGO — The Dodgers' 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night at Wrigley Field left Manager Joe Torre shaking his head.
Asked how he was doing, Torre laughed.
"I'm doing better now," he said.
With Jonathan Broxton unavailable to pitch, replacement closer Ramon Troncoso loaded the bases in the ninth inning, only to strike out Bobby Scales and Jake Fox to record a two-inning save that preserved the win. The Dodgers improved to a season-best 19 games over .500 and increased their lead in the National League West to nine games.
"He got on that high wire and just wiggled himself off," Torre said of the Dodgers' second-year reliever.
How calm was Troncoso?
"He's fine, I guess," Torre said. "He's either real scared or he's in control. He doesn't say anything."
Troncoso said he felt a rush of adrenaline and nothing else.
"Those are the moments you have to do something," he said.
Troncoso preserved the win for Randy Wolf (3-1), who pitched into the eighth inning and gave up only one run in seven innings in what might have been his best start of the season.
"I think I finally had my fastball velocity back," said Wolf, noting that he felt he lacked zip in his last couple of outings.
The game marked the return of shortstop Rafael Furcal, who sat out the first three games of the trip because of a strained buttock.
Furcal drove in Juan Pierre for the Dodgers' first run on a first-inning bunt single. He doubled the Dodgers' lead in the third inning when he walked, moved from first to third on a hit by James Loney and scored on a groundout by Casey Blake.
Furcal will return to the bench today because the Dodgers are playing a day game and don't want to take any chances with his surgically repaired back.
Pierre was two for four to bump up his average to .407.
Orlando Hudson was 0 for 4 to end his hitting streak at 17 games.
Ohman to the DL
Reliever Will Ohman will be put on the 15-day disabled list because of shoulder inflammation. Replacing him on the active roster will be catcher A.J. Ellis, who will be called up from triple-A Albuquerque.
"We don't think it's long-term," trainer Stan Conte said.
Ohman blamed the injury on his short spring; he didn't sign with the Dodgers until the final week of camp. The situational left-hander has posted a 5.84 earned-run average in 21 appearances, including a 10.12 ERA in his last 10 games.
Ellis, who will be the Dodgers' third catcher, was batting .340 in Albuquerque. Torre said that Ellis' stay in the majors will be brief and that he probably will be replaced on the roster by opening-day starter Hiroki Kuroda, who might be less than a week away from being activated from the disabled list.
What's next for Kuroda?
Kuroda, who gave up seven runs in five innings in a rehabilitation start with triple-A Inland Empire on Wednesday, will throw a bullpen session today in Los Angeles.
Torre said Kuroda, who pitched in two minor league games, might be ready to be activated by next week. Asked if Kuroda might have to extend his rehabilitation assignment to sharpen up, Torre replied, "I don't think it's necessary because it's not an arm issue."
However, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said Kuroda is scheduled to pitch in another minor league game Monday. Asked if Kuroda's rehabilitation assignment could be extended beyond that if his form doesn't improve, Honeycutt replied, "Could be."