Game Eighty-Five – Cubs 8 Diamondbacks 3
WP – Ryan Dempster (7-7) LP – Edwin Jackson (6-7) Save – None
Lou Piniella’s crew took advantage of the Diamondbacks less than stellar pitching staff and completed the three-game sweep on Wednesday night … the Cubs first ever sweep against the D’Backs in their home park.
The Cubs offense picked up Ryan Dempster, who beat Arizona for only the second time in his career and the first since September 2, 2000. Dempster labored through five innings and had little to no command. Dempster gave up three runs in the fourth and sat down Arizona in order for only the second time in the fifth … and qualified for the win. Dempster threw 98 pitches, 63 for strikes, walked one and struck out six.
The Cubs young pen shutdown the D’Backs over the last four innings and allowed only two hits with no walks. Andrew Cashner was the key. Cashner tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of James Russell, allowed only one hit and struck out three.
Sean Marshall was supposed to receive the night off but ended up pitching the eighth. Marshall gave up a hit but the aggressiveness of the D’Backs offense helped him out. Marshall recorded three outs on just six pitches.
The middle of Lou’s lineup delivered in the fourth. Derrek Lee (2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored), Marlon Byrd (2-for-5 with a double two runs scored and a RBI), Aramis Ramirez (2-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBI) and Alfonso Soriano (1-for-2 with a RBI) reached on four consecutive hits and plated the Cubs first two runs.
Ryan Dempster then dropped a safety squeeze with one out in the fourth that plated Ramirez with the Cubs’ third run. The fielder’s choice RBI was Dempster’s first run batted in of the season.
Starlin Castro broke up the 3-3 tie in the fifth with a two-out, two-run single to left … the eventual winning runs. Castro finished the game with just one hit in five trips to the plate but he came through when it counted.
Aramis Ramirez put the game away in the ninth with his third dinger in two games. Ramirez ripped a 3-1 pitch from Chad Qualls over the wall in left and gave the Cubs a comfortable 8-3 lead. Ramirez’s ninth of the year allowed Piniella to sit down Carlos Marmol and kept Piniella from using Marmol for the third day in a row.
Edwin Jackson hit Alfonso Soriano in the left elbow in the fifth that setup Castro’s two-run single. Soriano appeared to be in quite a bit of pain but stayed in the game. Tyler Colvin replaced Soriano in left when the Cubs took the field in the sixth. Reports indicated Soriano has a left elbow contusion (bruise).
Lou Piniella’s crew notched their second road series sweep of the season (in Milwaukee at the end of April) and won their third game in a row for the first time since May 22 – May 23, May 25. With the victory, the Cubs moved ahead of the Brewers in the division and improved to 38-47 on the season, nine games below the mediocre mark … Ryan Dempster sat down the D’Backs in order in the first but struggled in the second and it was apparent early he was not going to pitch deep into the game. For only the second time all season, Dempster was not able to pitch into the sixth inning.
Dempster wiggled in and out of trouble in the second and third innings before the offense gave him some runs in the fourth.
Derrek Lee led off the fourth with a single to left, the Cubs first hit of the game. Marlon Byrd doubled to right center and Lee scored all the way from first … 1-0 Cubs.
Aramis Ramirez singled to left; Byrd held at third but scored on Soriano’s single to left. The Cubs’ fourth straight hit produced a 2-0 lead.
Starlin Castro hit a weak grounder to short. Alfonso Soriano was forced at second and Geovany Soto walked to load the bases for Dempster.
Ryan Dempster squared to bunt on a 1-0 offering from Jackson. Dempster popped the ball up on the first base side of the mound. Edwin Jackson dove but came up empty. Ramirez scored on the safety squeeze but Soto was thrown out at second. Kosuke Fukudome grounded out to second to end the inning.
Arizona tied the game in the home half of the fourth. Mark Reynolds led off with a double to left center. Adam LaRoche struck out swinging but Dempster hit Stephen Drew. With runners on first and second, Gerardo Parra singled to right to load the bases.
Mark Reynolds hurt his leg rounding third and that play would loom large in the fifth.
Edwin Jackson drove in the D’Backs first run with a bloop single to center. Reynolds scored … 3-1 Cubs.
Chris Young then singled to left on a 3-0 offering from Dempster. Drew and Parra scored to tie the game at three.
Ryan Theriot robbed Kelly Johnson of a hit, and saved a run. Theriot made a diving stop in the hole at second and threw out Johnson. With runners on second and third, Justin Upton field out to center to end the inning.
Ryan Theriot led off the fifth with a single to left. Theriot advanced to second when Derrek Lee’s grounder up the middle bounced off Jackson’s leg to LaRoche at first. With Byrd at the plate, Theriot stole third … the 100th stolen base of his career.
Byrd then reached on a fielder’s choice to third. Byrd hit a grounder to Reynolds, Theriot retreated to the bag and Reynolds appeared to aggravate the leg injury he suffered in the fourth. With runners on first and third with one out, Ramirez popped out to shallow right.
Jackson hit Soriano in the elbow to load the bases. Starlin Castro quickly fell behind 0-2 before reaching down and pulling a single into left. Theriot and Byrd scored, 5-3 Cubs.
Soriano and Castro advanced to second and third when Parra’s throw got away from Miguel Montero. Soto was intentionally walked to load the bases. Dempster grounded out to short to end the inning.
The game remained 5-3 until the ninth … thanks to the Cubs’ pen.
Ryan Theriot led off the ninth with a single to left. Derrek Lee singled to left but Byrd struck out swinging. Aramis Ramirez cleared the bases with his third homer in two games … 8-3 Cubs.
Justin Berg sat down Arizona in order in the ninth to end the game.
The Cubs finished the season series 6-1 against the D’Backs after dropping the first game back on April 29. The Cubs’ offense finally took advantage of sub-par pitching during the series.
The Cubs open a four-game series at Dodger Stadium Thursday night … Randy Wells is slated to face Clayton Kershaw.