Game One Hundred Fifty-Six – Cubs 6 Pirates 0
WP – Ryan Dempster (11-8) LP – Kevin Hart (4-9) Save – None
With Tuesday night’s win behind Ryan Dempster, the Chicago Cubs posted their third consecutive winning season for the first time since stringing together six straight winning seasons from 1967 – 1972.
After totaling only one complete game as a staff through the first 153 games of the year, Ryan Dempster tossed the Cubs second complete game shutout in the last four games.
Ryan Dempster completed his first game since June 11, 2008 against the Braves and registered his first complete game shutout as a Chicago Cub … the third of his big league career. Dempster was incredibly sharp on Tuesday night. He allowed just five hits and two walks with six strikeouts on 120 pitches, 81 for strikes. The Pirates put two runners on base at the same time just once against Dempster on Tuesday night.
The Cubs offense jumped out early against Kevin Hart. They scored three runs in the first inning and tacked on three more in the fourth. The Pirates’ defense committed three errors, which led to three unearned runs. Kevin Hart continued to struggle in a Pirates’ uniform. He walked four batters in four innings and is 1-8 since being dealt to the Bucs.
Derrek Lee drove in two more on Tuesday night before leaving the game after six innings. Lee fouled a ball of his foot during an at bat in the sixth. He eventually walked and stayed in the game but was lifted in the top of the seventh. Lou Piniella joked about the injury in his post-game press conference saying his sore foot took his mind of his neck for a minute. Lee added to his career high RBI total with a two-run single in the fourth. Lee has driven in 111 runs on the year with six games left on the schedule.
Micah Hoffpauir drove in the first run of the game with a fielder’s choice ground out to first that Kevin Hart turned into an error … and added another RBI in the fourth. Jeff Baker doubled in two runs in the Cubs three-run first inning.
The Cubs defense put together a solid game. Derrek Lee started an inning ending double play from his knees in the fourth. Micah Hoffpauir turned in a diving catch in foul territory in the eighth … and Sam Fuld continued to make plays in center look very routine.
The Cubs won for the 82nd time on the year and improved to 7-3 in their last 10 on a night they were officially eliminated from the NL Wild Card race … On a cool night at Wrigley Field, Ryan Dempster shutdown the Pirates to start the game … and the Cubs’ offense put the game away in the first inning.
Ryan Theriot led off the home half of the first with a walk. Kosuke Fukudome followed with a double down the right field line and extended his hitting streak to seven games. With runners on second and third with no out, Derrek Lee ran the count to 3-2 before striking out swinging.
Micah Hoffpauir hit a grounder to the hole at second. Garrett Jones fielded the ball but made a low throw to Kevin Hart covering the bag. Hart dropped the ball and Theriot scored … 1-0 Cubs.
Jeff Baker stepped in and doubled down the left field line on a 2-2 pitch from Kevin Hart. Fukudome and Hoffpauir scored … 3-0 Cubs. Mike Fontenot struck out swinging for the second out. After Geovany Soto walked, Sam Fuld grounded out to first to end the inning.
Kevin Hart fell behind in the count throughout the second inning but faced the minimum after Ryan Theriot was thrown out at second base … the first of two times Theriot was thrown out trying to steal second on Tuesday night.
The Cubs loaded the bases in the third inning but came away empty … Geovany Soto squared off on the ball but hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Sam Fuld led off the fourth with an infield single off of Kevin Hart. Hart tried to field the ball barehanded, deflected it to Delwyn Young but the Pirates’ second baseman threw the ball away.
Ryan Dempster struck out on a fouled bunt attempt for the first out. Ryan Theriot walked. Kosuke Fukudome hit a tailor made double play ball to Young at second. He bobbled the ball and the bases were loaded for Derrek Lee.
Kevin Hart fell behind in the count to Derrek Lee. On a 2-1 pitch, Lee hit a grounder under the glove of Luis Cruz at short. The ball ended up in center and plated both Fuld and Theriot … 5-0 Cubs.
Micah Hoffpauir then hit a routine grounder to second. The Pirates defense was very deliberate trying to turn the double play and Cruz’s throw to first was late. Fukudome scored on the fielder’s choice … 6-0 Cubs.
Ryan Dempster took care of the rest. Dempster shutdown the Pirates and handed them their 16th shutout of the season.
Wednesday is double-header day for the Chicago Cubs. Ted Lilly will face Charlie Morton in Game One … first pitch at 1:00pm C.T. Carlos Zambrano is slated to face Jeff Karstens in Game Two of the day-night doubleheader.