Cubs 8, Diamondbacks 3
Aramis Ramirez seemed to take the first steps toward breaking
out of his season-long funk. The rest of the team was swinging,
too, scoring more runs than the previous 10 games combined. Even
the pitching was decent.
Their first three-game sweep at Chase Field could go a long way
in turning the Chicago Cubs from woeful to at least hopeful.
Ramirez hit a three-run homer, Ryan Dempster labored through
five innings and the Cubs beat the free-swinging Arizona
Diamondbacks 8-3 Wednesday night.
“Let’s enjoy it,” Dempster said. “We’ve had a tough go of
things, so we’re going to enjoy this and build off it. It gives us
Outscored 35-12 in a recent seven-game homestand, the Cubs
heated up in Chase Field’s air conditioning, scoring 23 runs to
notch their first three-game sweep at Arizona’s spacious stadium in
16 series all-time.
Starlin Castro had a two-run single as Chicago roughed up Edwin
Jackson (6-7) early and Ramirez put it out of reach in the ninth,
hitting his third homer in two games off Chad Qualls to give
Chicago its first series win of any kind in Arizona since 2003.
With four games against the Dodgers left before the All-Star
break, the Cubbies have reason for optimism in a season that hasn’t
“We’re starting to score a few runs,” Cubs manager Lou
Piniella said. “It should give us some momentum and some
confidence. I like a lot of things I saw in this series.”
The Diamondbacks are building momentum toward a record they
Continuing its whiff-a-palooza, Arizona hit 10-plus strikeouts
for the fifth straight game to match a team record. The 10 Ks
against the Cubs gives the Diamondbacks 69 in six games under
interim manager Kirk Gibson and 793 on the season as they swing and
miss toward the all-time record.
It’s more than just strikeouts, though.
Arizona hasn’t made many tangible strides under Gibson, losing
five straight since winning in his debut last Thursday. The bullpen
still has a knack for blowing up, the key hits never seem to come
in the late innings and the Diamondbacks haven’t budged from the
bottom of the NL West.
In other words, they don’t look a whole lot different under
Gibson than they did under A.J. Hinch – at least so far.
“It’s being kind of cruel right now to us,” Gibson said.
Dempster (7-7) struck out six, but gave up three runs on eight
hits in failing to reach the sixth inning for just the second time
in 18 starts.
He was still better than Jackson.
Two starts removed from the second no-hitter in Diamondbacks’
history, Jackson was sharp early, holding Chicago without a hit
until Derrek Lee led off the fourth with a single to left.
Once the Cubs got one hit, they kept going.
Marlon Byrd knocked in Lee with a double, then Alfonso Soriano
drove him in with a single. Dempster helped himself out in the
inning, too, pushing a bunt toward first for a fielder’s choice
that scored another run and put the Cubs up 3-0.
He just couldn’t hold it in the bottom half.
After working around three singles in the second inning and two
baserunners in the third, Dempster gave up three runs in the fourth
on Jackson’s flare single to center and Chris Young’s broken-bat,
two-run single just over the head of Ramirez at third.
“I hate that,” Dempster said. “Shutdown innings are huge and
they go out and score three right after we did.”
Didn’t matter against the Diamondbacks.
The Cubs continued to knock around Jackson in the fifth inning,
going up 5-3 on a two-run single by Castro that left the
right-hander so irritated he didn’t see the ball bound off the
backstop on left fielder Gerardo Parra’s throwing error.
Jackson didn’t come out for the sixth inning after giving up
five runs on six hits for his first loss since May 28.
The Diamondbacks went out with a whimper after Dempster left,
unable to get a runner into scoring position against four relievers
over the final four innings to get swept for the eighth time this
“It’s tough working though it, struggling and the team
struggling,” said Arizona third baseman Mark Reynolds, 14 for 69
over his last 20 games. “Then it snowballs, so it’s tough.”
NOTES: Soriano was 0 for 2 in career game No. 1,400 and left in
the bottom of the fifth inning after being hit by a pitch on the
left elbow in the top half. … Arizona previously struck out 10
times or more in five straight games from April 29-May 3 earlier
this season. … Piniella said he expects right-hander Carlos Silva
to be ready for his next start after injuring his right calf
against Arizona Tuesday night.