Fernando Valenzuela pitched a six-hit shutout in Atlanta yesterday for his 14th victory as the Los Angeles Dodgers blanked the Braves, 3-0, to move within 7 1/2 games of the front-running home team in the National League West.
Dusty Baker produced his 18th home run of the season in the fourth and Steve Sax had a two-run single in the fifth.
With a doubleheader defeat by the Dodgers Friday, the Braves have lost three in a row for the first time since a four-game losing streak May 26-31.
Valenzuela was in mild trouble when the Braves put two runners on in the fifth and sixth innings with one out, but only one got to third base. Bob Horner's single and Bruce Benedict's two-out double created a threat in the ninth. Valenzuela (14-8) fanned pinch hitter Terry Harper, his eighth strikeout.
With his second shutout and 11th complete game, he tied Philadelphia's Steve Carlton as the only 14-game winners in the majors.
The Dodgers' two-run fifth off loser Pascual Perez began when Mike Scioscia singled and Mark Belanger followed with a bloop single over shortstop. Valenzuela sacrificed before Sax lined a 3-2 pitch up the middle score both runners.
The start of the game was delayed 1 hour 35 minutes by rain.