Ryan Dempster shocked me as he matched 2-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum pitch-for-pitch in a remarkable pitching duel. Dempster worked 8 scoreless innings and had a 1-run lead as he stepped onto the bump in the top of the 9th at 78 pitches. But when he allowed a lead-off double to Pat Burrell, Manager Mike Quade made the shocking move to “pull” Dempster from the 1-0 game after he had just pitched one of the best games of his career. Come on, Quade – you are 11.5 games out of 1st place. It’s not like this win is that important in the grand scheme of things. Dempster earned the right to pitch out the game and try to get out of the 1-on, nobody out jam in the 9th. But Quade made the move to go with closer Carlos Marmol to “save” the all-important game for the Cubs. And the move totally back-fired. After a strikeout, Marmol allowed an RBI single that tied the game at 1. He then gave up a walk and a hit to put the go-ahead run in scoring position with only 1 out and luckily got Cody Ross to hit into an inning-ending double play to preserve the 1-1 tie. But by then, the excitement over a big 1-0 win over Lincecum was long gone.
That being said, the Cubs showed some grit when Tony Campana singled to lead off the 9th inning and and Reed Johnson sacrificed him over to 2nd base to put the speedster in scoring position with only 1 out. Geovany Soto grounded out, but pinch-hitter Aramis Ramirez came through with the clutch game-winning hit to drive in Campana with the winning run.
After 6+ scoreless innings, the Cubs finally broke through off of Lincecum in the 7th inning. Blake DeWitt’s single drove in Carlos Pena who had doubled to lead off the inning. It was nice to see some clutch hitting there.
The Cubs are 33-48 and they trail the Brewers by 10.5 games in the NL Central race.