Game Twenty-Nine – Cubs 4 Dodgers 1
WP – Kerry Wood (1-1) LP – Jonathan Broxton (1-2) Save – Carlos Marmol (8)
Two of the players the Cubs have been waiting on to perform this season finally showed up Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. After a bad start to the game, Ryan Dempster celebrated his 34th birthday with his best outing of the season.
Dempster’s night began on an extremely negative note. Dempster issued back-to-back walks to Jamey Carroll and Jerry Sands on eight pitches. After Andre Ethier grounded into a 4-6-3 double play Dempster settled down, found a groove and put together his first quality start of the year.
Ryan Dempster appeared to gain confidence as the game progressed. Dempster retired nine in a row at one point and reached the 40-pitch mark after three innings. He allowed only one run on six hits in seven innings with two walks and five strikeouts … with three of the five strikeouts coming in his last inning of work. Dempster threw 116 pitches, 76 for strikes, and took a no decision after the Cubs failed to score in the top of the eighth.
The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth … that did not last long.
Carlos Pena hit his first homer as a Cub in the top of the seventh that tied the game at one. Pena played a big part in Tuesday’s victory. Not only did his first dinger tie the game but he also scored a run in the ninth and made several solid plays in the field.
Geovany Soto has had a very good road trip (5-for-17 with four doubles, a home run and six RBI) and came through with two outs in the ninth Tuesday night.
After Jonathan Broxton issued back-to-back one out walks to Marlon Byrd and Carlos Pena, Don Mattingly went to his pen for Blake Hawksworth. Following a fly out to center by Alfonso Soriano, Soto doubled to right center with two outs and drove in the eventual winning runs. Soto then scored on a pinch-hit single by Blake DeWitt that gave Carlos Marmol plenty of breathing room in the bottom of the inning.
The Cubs out hit the Dodgers (7-6) with the first hits of the game with runners in scoring position coming in the ninth (2-for-8 with RISP, six left on base).
Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 29 games with a fourth inning single off Ryan Dempster.
With Tuesday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 13-16 on the season and 3-3 on the seven-game road trip … Ryan Dempster and Chad Billingsley locked in a pitcher’s duel Tuesday night … and it was not the first time the two pitchers have matched each other pitch for pitch in an eventual Cubs’ win. Dempster did an excellent job of putting his horrible month and bad start of the night behind him. Dempster needed Tuesday night’s performance … and so did the Cubs.
Ryan Dempster survived the poor start and did not allow his first hit until one out in the fourth inning. Dempster walked the first two batters he faced on eight pitches but induced a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Andre Ethier to get out of the early jam.
Dempster retired eight in a row at one point … but unfortunately for Dempster, Chad Billingsley was matching him pitch for pitch, and then some.
The Cubs looked like they might strike first Tuesday night. Aramis Ramirez ripped a one-out double off the wall in right center in the fourth. Ramirez thought he had hit the ball out of the park and did not hustle out of the box. Ramirez slid in safe but when he popped up third base umpire, Jerry Sands, ruled he took his foot off the bag. Replays showed it was a bad call but the bottom line was Ramirez did not run out of the box.
Q’s offense had another chance to score the game’s first run in the top of the sixth. Kosuke Fukudome worked a one-out walk and advanced to second on the Cubs’ third hit of the game, a single to right center by Darwin Barney … the first time the Cubs had two runners on base in the game.
Starlin Castro hit a chopper to short on a 1-0 pitch. Barney was forced at second but Castro reached. With runners on first and third with two down, Aramis Ramirez hit a weak grounder to short to end the inning.
The Dodgers broke through in the bottom of the sixth. Jamey Carroll singled to right on a 1-1 pitch. Jerry Sands dropped down a sac bunt. Carroll advanced to second and held when Andre Ethier grounded out to third.
Matt Kemp ripped a 0-1 pitch into center. Marlon Byrd charged and threw to the plate but Carroll slid in safe with the game’s first run. Kemp stole second with Uribe at the dish. Uribe ended up grounding out to second to end the inning.
The Cubs tied the game in the top of the seventh on Carlos Pena’s first home run of the season. Pena ripped Billingsley’s first pitch over the short-wall in right.
Quade left Dempster in to start the seventh. After six solid innings Dempster’s pitch count was at 91 but James Loney worked the count to 2-2 (behind 0-2 early) before blooping a single into left center. Dempster struck out Rod Barajas and Aaron Miles. Jay Gibbons was activated from the DL Tuesday and put together an excellent at bat. Dempster uncorked a wild pitch on his 115th offering of the game that allowed Loney to advance to second. Dempster then dropped in a great slider on the 10th pitch of the at bat that caught Gibbons looking to end the inning.
Ryan Dempster’s best outing of the season ended after seven complete innings … one run on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts on 116 pitches, 76 for strikes. Three of Dempster’s five strikeouts came in the seventh inning.
Kerry Wood retired the Dodgers in order in the bottom of the eighth on 10 pitches, seven for strikes … and gave the offense a chance in the top of the ninth.
Jonathan Broxton took the mound in the ninth and retired Aramis Ramirez to begin the inning … but issued back-to-back walks to Marlon Byrd and Carlos Pena on eight pitches. Don Mattingly decided he had seen enough and went to his pen for Blake Hawksworth.
With the game tied at one, Alfonso Soriano flied out to center for the second out of the inning.
Geovany Soto stepped in and fell behind 1-2. Soto then ripped Hawksworth’s next pitch into right center. The ball landed between Kemp and Ethier and rolled all the way to the wall. Byrd and Pena scored and gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead.
Blake DeWitt hit for Kerry Wood and singled to center. Soto rounded third and headed home as Kemp reached the ball. Kemp threw a perfect strike that for some reason Loney cut off. Soto scored the Cubs fourth run of the game. Fukudome lined out to a diving Matt Kemp in right center to end the inning.
Carlos Marmol retired the Dodgers in order in the ninth for his eighth save of the season.
Q’s squad put together a solid performance Tuesday night … it’s amazing what good starting pitching can do.
Carlos Zambrano will face Ted Lilly in the rubber game Wednesday afternoon.