Cubs 6, Pirates 3

In this trying season for the Chicago Cubs, even when they win a

game, they’re still making news for the wrong seasons.

Ryan Dempster won for the first time in five starts despite

arguing with manager Mike Quade after he was lifted after five

innings, and the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 on Saturday

night.

Dempster (6-6) was pitching on nine days’ rest after being

scratched from his scheduled start Monday because of back pain. He

was cleared to start Saturday after making it through a pregame

workout Friday without incident.

He allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks in five

innings and was seen throwing equipment and arguing vehemently with

Quade when he was pinch-hit for to lead off the sixth.

”He wants to keep pitching, but I have to take into account

what I saw and what I’ve got available and where we’re at,” Quade

said. ”Whether it’s his physical condition and everything else.

He’s interested in winning games for the team, and that’s what I

want.

”I’m thinking about a million things, including how he’s going

to recover from this and everything else.”

Quade, Dempster and the rest of the Cubs played coy about the

incident after the game, Chicago’s second win in three days.

”I was just mad that with my sore back, I didn’t get a tee time

at Oakmont (Country Club) while I was here, and it probably just

came out after the fifth inning there,” Dempster quipped.

”We won the game, and that’s all that matters,” Dempster

added. ”So I think anyone who’s competitive, you always want to be

out there. But at the end of the day, getting W’s is all that

matters.”

Dempster said he was most upset about the fact that the

already-depleted bullpen was to be taxed further because of the

fact he didn’t go deeper into the game.

Blowups from Cubs starting pitchers have become commonplace in

recent years – but most of the time, it’s volatile Carlos Zambrano

throwing the tantrum.

”I see both sides,” catcher Koyie Hill said. ”We’re trying to

win ballgames. (Quade) is trying to protect his pitcher, and the

pitcher’s trying to protect his bullpen.”

Jeff Samardzija, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol combined to throw

four scoreless innings to close out the Cubs’ victory, their second

in their past eight at PNC Park. A night after blowing his sixth

save, Marmol pitched the ninth for his 19th save of the season.

Starlin Castro went 3 for 5 with a run and an RBI for the

Cubs.

Matt Diaz entered the game in the fourth and had two doubles and

two RBIs for Pittsburgh, which came in with a chance to climb into

first place.

Pittsburgh, which had won four of its previous five, needed a

win and a loss by the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday to move into a

tie for the National League Central lead. It’s only early July, but

for a team that has suffered through 18 consecutive losing seasons

and lost 105 games last year, that would have been heady stuff.

The Pirates are starting to make inroads in a sports market that

usually only turns its attention to them when the Steelers and

Penguins are out of season or not making news. The crowd of 39,235

Saturday – buoyed by a popular postgame concert and fireworks and

laser show – was the 10th sellout of the season at PNC Park, the

most since the ballpark’s inaugural season in 2001.

But starter Kevin Correia didn’t give Pittsburgh much of a

chance on a night he could have tied Atlanta’s Jair Jurrjens and

the Yankees’ CC Sabathia for the majors’ lead in victories with

12.

”It was one of those nights when you made a good pitch, they

put the bat on the ball and got a hit, and when you didn’t, they

took advantage of it,” Correia said. ”It was that kind of

double-edged sword.

”Just one of those nights.”

Correia (11-7) labored through his shortest start of the season.

He allowed five runs on nine hits in 3 2-3 innings.

”Once he got behind in the count, I don’t think he had the

command he needed to have,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle

said.

Chicago scored during each of the four innings Correia pitched.

The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Marlon

Byrd and a wild pitch by Correia that scored Castro. Kosuke

Fukudome, Alfonso Soriano and Castro had RBI singles the following

three innings.

Fukudome had two hits and two runs, Pena had two hits, a run and

an RBI and Darwin Barney went 2 for 4 with two runs for the

Cubs.

Pirates rookies Alex Presley and Michael McKenry each had two

hits and scored a run.

Presley scored on Neil Walker’s groundout in the bottom of the

third, and Diaz hit a ground-rule double down the right-field line

that scored Garrett Jones and McKenry in the fourth.

Notes: Before the game, Quade said the Cubs will open the second

half of the season’s first three games with a rotation of RHP Matt

Garza, Dempster and Zambrano. … During the fourth inning, the

Pirates announced on the jumbotron that OF Andrew McCutchen was

named to the NL All-star team, drawing an ovation and a curtain

call. McCutchen will replace injured Brewers OF Ryan Braun.