Game Sixty-Four – Cubs 3, Red Sox 0
WP – Ryan Dempster (3-3) LP – Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2) Save – Carlos Marmol (3)
Ryan Dempster posted his third straight victory, first at Wrigley since August 11, 2011, with a dominant performance against Theo Epstein’s old team the Boston Red Sox. Dempster threw seven more shutout innings Friday afternoon and ran his scoreless innings streak to 22.
Ryan Dempster allowed just four singles, walked two and struck out three over his seven innings of work (106 pitches, 69 strikes). Dempster worked out of jams in the first and seventh and worked around a couple of errors by Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney that elevated his pitch count.
Dempster not only led the way on the hill but he also contributed at the plate (2-for-2 with a triple and a run scored). Dempster notched his first triple in over a decade (May 12, 2002) in the second innings and scored the Cubs’ third run on a two-out single off the bat of David DeJesus (1-for-3 with a RBI and a walk).
James Russell was sharp in the eighth and set down the Sox in order on 17 pitches, 11 for strikes.
Carlos Marmol made his return to the closer’s role and picked up his first save since May 2 in Cincinnati. Luis Valbuena made a sensational play to rob Jarrod Saltalamacchia of a hit to start the ninth before committing an error that helped put Marmol behind the eight-ball. Marmol was wild and loaded the bases but after a one-sided conversation with Dale Sveum, Marmol was able to preserve the win, and shutout, for Ryan Dempster.
Ryan Dempster, James Russell and Carlos Marmol combined on a five-hit shutout, just the third time the Red Sox have been blanked this year.
Dale Sveum’s offense showed a lot of patience against Daisuke Matsuzaka and it led to an early lead.
Tony Campana (0-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and two stolen bases) walked to start the game and he set the tone early. Matsuzaka ended up walking the bases loaded in the first inning and Steve Clevenger (1-for-3 with a double and two RBI) drove in a pair with an opposite field, two-out, two-run bloop double.
All three of the Cubs runs Friday scored with two outs. The Cubs offense worked four free passes on the afternoon and Matsuzaka hit a batter to go along with four hits (2-for-6 with RISP, five left on base).
In the end Friday was all about Ryan Dempster. If it was his swan song at Wrigley Field in a Cubs’ uniform, he went out a winner.
With Friday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 22-42 on the season … The game began on a negative note for Ryan Dempster. Long-time Cubs’ killer Scott Podsednik pushed a 0-1 pitch past the mound toward second for a bunt single. Dempster then walked Dustin Pedroia on four pitches. With runners on first and second with no outs, Dempster struck out Adrian Gonzalez. David Ortiz hit a 1-0 pitch toward first. Bryan LaHair fielded the ball and threw to second to force Pedroia. With runners on first and third with two outs, Kevin Youkilis flied out to right (1-1 pitch) to end the inning. Dempster threw 15 pitches in the opening frame, nine for strikes.
Tony Campana started the bottom of the first with a free pass. Matsuzaka then struck out Starlin Castro swinging for the first out. Campana took off for second on the first pitch to DeJesus. Saltalamacchia’s throw nearly hit Matsuzaka as Campana slid in safe with his 22nd stolen base of the season. DeJesus flied out to left (3-1 pitch) for the second out. With Soriano at the plate, Campana swiped third and held when Alfonso Soriano looked at ball four. Bryan LaHair followed with a free pass of his own to load the bases with two outs.
Steve Clevenger gave the Cubs the lead with a blooper down the left field line. Campana scored easily and Soriano limped home as well. LaHair stopped at third on Clevenger’s double. Darwin Barney grounded out to second to end the inning.
After one complete, the Cubs led 2-0.
Ryan Dempster retired Saltalamacchia on a fly out to center to start the second and Ryan Sweeney popped out to Barney for the second out. Mike Aviles single to center but that was all in the second. Daisuke Matsuzaka flied out to center to end the inning. Dempster threw 29 pitches in the first two innings, 19 for strikes.
Luis Valbuena struck out swinging to start the bottom of the second … but the swing and miss happened on the 10th pitch of the at bat. Ryan Dempster followed and blooped a 1-0 pitch into right field. Adrian Gonzalez tried to make a diving catch but missed the ball by several feet. The ball rolled past him and Dempster ended up a third with a standing triple. Dempster’s second career triple in 580 at bats. Tony Campana hit the first pitch to short, Dempster had to hold and quickly there were two outs.
David DeJesus came through. Matsuzaka made a mistake on a 0-2 pitch and DeJesus lined it into right. Dempster scored and the Cubs took a 3-0 lead. DeJesus advanced to second on a delayed steal with Soriano at the plate. Soriano grounded out to second (2-2 pitch to end the inning).
Daisuke Matsuzaka threw 52 pitches (30 strikes) in two innings.
Ryan Dempster retired the Sox in order in the third … 44 pitches for Dempster after three, 28 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the third.
David Ortiz reached to start the fourth. Ortiz hit a grounder to Castro in the shift. Castro bobbled the ball after it hit the lip of the outfield grass. Kevin Youkilis showed his usual patience and popped out to center on a 3-2 pitch. Saltalamacchia just missed one and flied out to the track in left. Dempster retired Sweeney on a pop out to Castro to end the inning … 57 pitches for Dempster after four, 37 for strikes.
The Cubs managed only one hit off Matsuzaka in the fourth … a one out single to left off the bat of Ryan Dempster. Campana struck out and Castro grounded out to third to end the inning.
For the second inning in a row an error by a Cubs’ infielder allowed the Red Sox to put the leadoff runner on base. Mike Aviles ripped a ball toward Barney. He knocked the ball down but could not get the out at first. Aviles then swiped second as Matsuzaka tried to get a bunt down. Matsuzaka foul tipped a bunt attempt on a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Scott Podsednik then hit a ball back to Dempster. Aviles was caught in a run down and was eventually tagged out (1-6-5-6). Podsednik stole second but was stranded when Dustin Pedroia lined out to right center … 72 pitches for Dempster after five, 47 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the fifth.
Ryan Dempster retired three of the four batters he faced in the sixth. After Gonzalez filed out to right center to start the inning, David Ortiz singled to right. Tony Campana then caught up to a drive into the gap in right center off the bat of Youkilis (2-2 pitch) for the second out. Saltalamacchia flied out to center to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the sixth.
Ryan Sweeney grounded out to second to start the seventh. Aviles flied out to left and Bobby Valentine sent Nick Punto up to hit for Matsuzaka. Dempster walked Punto. With Podsednik at the plate, Punto stole second then advanced to third on an infield single to short by Podsednik. Dustin Pedroia stepped in with two on and two outs. Podsednik took off for second on a 0-1 pitch to Pedroia and advanced into scoring position. Pedroia hit a liner down the right field line that DeJesus ran over and caught to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the seventh against Scott Atchison.
James Russell took over for Dempster in the eighth … and set down the Sox in order.
Former Astros’ closer Mark Melancon started the bottom of the eighth by walking David DeJesus. Soriano popped out to short for the first out. DeJesus tried to steal second but Saltalamacchia threw him out. LaHair struck out swinging … and the Cubs went to the ninth up 3-0.
Carlos Marmol made his way in from the pen and quickly fell behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia 3-1. Saltalamacchia tried to beat the shift and lined a 3-2 pitch toward third. Luis Valbuena was shaded toward short but dove to his right, made an excellent stop and threw a strike to LaHair for the first out. Ryan Sweeney blooped a 0-1 pitch into right for a single. Mike Aviles then hit a 0-2 pitch toward the hole at short. The ball went off of Valbuena’s glove. Valbuena was charged with an error and the Red Sox had two on with one out in the ninth.
Daniel Nava hit for Melancon and struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the second out. Marmol lost his command again and walked Scott Podsednik on five pitches to loaded the bases with two outs.
Dale Sveum made his way out of the dugout and had a one-sided conversation with Marmol. Dustin Pedroia looked at two out of the zone before pulling a 2-2 pitch toward third. Valbuena was playing close to the line but deep. Valbuena fielded the ball and beat Aviles to the bag to end the game.
Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Jon Lester in game two on Saturday night.
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