Cubs
Astros
9 - 0 Final
  for this game

Dempster helps Cubs avoid sweep

Jul 20, 2008 - 9:31 PM By Andrew J. Ferraro PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Ryan Dempster and the Chicago Cubs did everything they could to avoid getting swept by the Houston Astros.

Dempster pitched eight outstanding innings as the Cubs salvaged the finale of the three-game series with a 9-0 triumph over the Astros on Sunday.

An All-Star, Dempster (11-4) gave up just six hits, striking out seven and walking one.

"All I wanted to do was throw strikes, first-pitch strike and make them put the ball in play," Dempster said. "I really had it going and was able to put together a few quick innings out there."

The 31-year old Dempster came just three outs short of his first shutout since blanking the Montreal Expos on July 3, 2001. Dempster, who has nine career complete games, recorded his first road victory since June 2, 2006 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

"I wanted to go out there for the ninth, I always want to finish what I start," Dempster said. "But it was 7-0 and I was over 100 pitches and we had been (batting) for awhile. It is just one of those things where coming out right there is going to make me feel that much better the next time I go."

Chicago got all the runs it needed in the first inning, scoring twice against Houston starter Brandon Backe (6-10).

All-Star Kosuke Fukudome hit a one-out double and scored when Derrek Lee followed with a double off the fence in right-center. Two batters later, Jim Edmonds, who tortured the Astros for many years while playing in St. Louis, hit a soft single to center, scoring Lee.

Ryan Theriot had two hits off Backe and extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and Mike Fontenot had three hits Sunday, including his eighth homer of the season in the fifth.

"I really feel good at the plate right now and today it was just a situation where the guys ahead of me in the order really worked the pitcher," Theriot said. "I saw some really good pitches today and that really allowed me to be more aggressive that normal. So it's really working out."

Fontenot, making his sixth straight start at second base, added a two-run double in the ninth, and Lee plated two with a single to center to round out the scoring.

After two frustrating losses Friday and Saturday, Cubs manager Lou Piniella quipped that he might make a change to the team's routine the next time they visit Minute Maid Park.

"I think we are just going to skip batting practice the next time we play here," Piniella said. "We'll just get on the bus and come on over at 5:15 and start scrapping."

Backe pitched well after the first inning, giving up four runs in 6 2/3 innings and striking out eight - one off his season high set May 8 against Washington. In his previous two outings, Backe had pitched 10 scoreless innings.

"This was a clunker, wasn't it," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "With the exception of a couple of pitches, I thought Backe pitched a really nice game out there. He really pitched well for the most part and really gave us a chance to win.

"He deserved a better fate, and the fifth inning was really a killer for us today."

The fifth inning that Cooper referred to was the only time the Astros seriously threatened Dempster. Miguel Tejada, Geoff Blum and Hunter Pence hit consecutive singles to start the inning, loading the bases.

But Dempster stuck out J.R. Towles and Backe before getting Kazuo Matsui to pop out to third base in foul territory.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHICAGO CUBS 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 5 9 13 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CHN - RYAN DEMPSTER, CARLOS MARMOL (9TH) AND GEOVANY SOTO
    HOU - BRANDON BACKE, WESLEY WRIGHT (7TH), CHRIS SAMPSON
    (8TH), TIM BYRDAK (9TH), CHAD PARONTO (9TH) AND J.

    Jul 20 4:33 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DERREK LEE SCORED RYAN THERIOT AND KOSUKE
    FUKUDOME.
    SITUATION: 5 RUNS IN, D LEE ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 9
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A RAMIREZ (.275, 0-FOR-4)

    Cubs 9, Astros 0  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 20 4:26 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN THERIOT SCORED MIKE FONTENOT.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, R THERIOT ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 7
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: K FUKUDOME (.275, 1-FOR-4)

    Cubs 7, Astros 0  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 20 4:19 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MIKE FONTENOT SCORED MARK DEROSA AND GEOVANY
    SOTO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M FONTENOT ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 6
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: R DEMPSTER (.158, 0-FOR-2, SAC)

    Cubs 6, Astros 0  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 20 4:17 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN THERIOT SCORED MIKE FONTENOT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R THERIOT ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 4
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: K FUKUDOME (.276, 1-FOR-3)

    Cubs 4, Astros 0  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 20 3:43 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY MIKE FONTENOT (8) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF BRANDON BACKE.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 3, HOUSTON 0
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: R DEMPSTER (.162, 0-FOR-1)

    Cubs 3, Astros 0  Top 5, 0 OutsJul 20 3:01 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHICAGO CUBS 2 2 3 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: CHN - RYAN DEMPSTER
    HOU - BRANDON BACKE

    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: K MATSUI (.281, 1 HR, 19 RBI)
    D ERSTAD (.280, 2 HR, 16 RBI)
    L BERKMAN (.343, 22 HR, 73 RBI)

    Cubs 2, Astros 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 20 2:14 PM