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09/16/09 3:08 AM ET

Wolf puts fears about elbow to rest

Dodgers left-hander returns to throw seven strong innings

LOS ANGELES -- Put pitching elbow and cortisone shot in the same sentence and they usually aren't followed by seven solid innings the way they were for Randy Wolf on Tuesday night, when he put to rest fears about his health.

While Wolf's performance lacked the drama of, say, Andre Ethier, it might have greater meaning to the Dodgers come October.

All three runs Wolf allowed to the Pirates scored in the second inning, when he said he was "too amped up" after missing a start with a hyperextended left elbow suffered swinging a bat in batting practice.

"I felt great. Actually, too good," Wolf said after the game he started ended in a 5-4 Dodgers win on Ethier's walk-off homer in the 13th inning.

"I haven't been out there in a while and I was rusty, missing up a lot early. I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be. My location got better when I started throwing my offspeed stuff for strikes. I just needed to calm down a little."

He put the Dodgers in a three-run hole, allowing a two-run homer by Steve Pearce and a two-out RBI single by opposing pitcher Zach Duke.

But Wolf allowed only two hits over his final five innings, retired the last seven batters he faced and seemed to convince everyone to stop worrying about his elbow, two days after he said he stopped worrying after a successful bullpen session in San Francisco.

"I really wasn't worried," he said. "I wouldn't have told Joe [Torre] I was ready to go. I really was never worried about pitching. I didn't do it throwing. I just needed to get the irritation out of there and I knew I would be fine."

With a 15th no-decision, Wolf remained unbeaten since Aug. 1, going 5-0 with a 2.34 ERA. Wolf leads the league with 31 starts, in which the Dodgers are now 20-11. He has quality starts in 13 of his past 14 outings.

"He was good," Torre said. "I think early on he was too pumped up and couldn't locate. After that three-run inning in the second inning he was fine."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.