Dempster Wins Duel in the Desert – Cubs 1 Mariners 0

Game Twenty-Six – Cubs 1 Mariners 0
WP – Ryan Dempster (2-0) LP – Ryan Rowland-Smith (0-2) Save – John Grabow (1)

wflag.jpgRyan Dempster out pitched Ryan Rowland-Smith in front of a record crowd of 13,629 and in a brisk one hour and 59 minutes. Dempster found a groove early and allowed only two hits in the first six innings. Dempster walked two batters in his longest outing of the spring and struck out nine while allowing four hits.

The Mariners loaded the bases in the seventh with no outs. Casey Kotchman reached on an infield single to the hole at short. After a wild pitch that allowed Kotchman to advance, Dempster walked Ken Griffey, Jr. … Dempster’s second free pass of the game.

Eric Byrnes ripped Dempster’s first pitch into center. Kotchman held at third to load the bases. With the Cubs up by one run, Dempster struck out Mario Martinez, Matt Tuiasosopo and Adam More to end the inning.

Koyie Hill threw out Chone Figgins to end the seventh and made a great save on a 1-1 pitch to Moore in the seventh to keep the bases loaded. Hill showed why he will begin the season as the Cubs’ backup catcher.

Jeff Samardzija retired the Mariners in order in the eighth for his second hold of the spring. Samardzija threw the ball extremely well against Jack Wilson, Ichiro and Chone Figgins.

John Grabow picked up his first save with a spotless ninth.

The Cubs lone run came in the sixth. Jeff Baker led off the inning with a double to right center against Rowand-Smith. Ryan Theriot advanced him to third with a single to right. Kosuke Fukudome hit Rowand-Smith’s first offering into center … and plated Baker with the game’s only run.

With the win, the Cubs improved to 14-9-3 on the last Sunday of the exhibition season …

Ryan Dempster was in mid-season form on Sunday. Dempster had good command, threw strikes and mixed his pitches to a majority of the Mariners’ everyday lineup.

Dempster worked around a two-out double by Casey Kotchman in the first, retired the Mariners in order in the second and gave up his second hit of the game to Ichiro in the third.

Dempster retired eight in a row before walking Chone Figgins with two outs in the sixth … Koyie Hill threw out the former Angel to end the inning.

Xavier Nady had one opportunity in his first start in the Cubs’ outfield. On Kotchman’s double in the first, Nady tracked down the ball in the corner then threw to a very deep Jeff Baker (in medium depth right field). Nady’s throw was online and appeared to have a little velocity … it was not a lollipop.

Ryan Theriot played a solid shortstop on Sunday. Theriot made several plays on balls hit in the hole and showed a strong arm on his throws to first base.

Tyler Colvin recorded one of the Cubs’ five hits off of Ryan Rowand-Smith … and made a nice running catch on a ball hit by Ichiro in the sixth. Colvin started the game in center, moved to right and took a hit away from Ichiro … the Mariners’ leadoff man thought the ball had dropped and had to be told Colvin caught it.

The only negative for the Cubs on Sunday … Derrek Lee was scratched from the starting lineup because of lingering pain his foot. Lee fouled a ball off his foot earlier in the spring and did it again about a week ago. The Cubs said he could return on Monday or Tuesday … and will be ready when the season begins in Atlanta next Monday.

Box Score from

Randy Wells will face Carlos Fisher and the Reds on Monday at HoHoKam Park.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver