“When Dempster is throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters, he’s got the pitches to get good hitting teams out, believe me,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “He’s had success against them.”
Dempster (2-0) gave up one run on seven hits in 7 2-3 innings. He struck out four and walked one to improve 9-1 in his last 11 starts against Milwaukee. His effort picked up the Cubs who had lost five of the last six games.
Dempster cooled off the Brewers who had outscored the Pittsburgh Pirates 36-1 during a three-game sweep, including Thursday’s 25-hit, 20-0 pounding. He didn’t allow a runner past second until the seventh when the Brewers pushed across a run on Craig Counsell’s(notes) pinch-hit double.
“You just know they are feeling good at the plate,” he said. “I figured they scored 20 yesterday, they had to hit a few of those at somebody today, and they did that.”
Dempster improved to 9-1 in his last 11 starts against the Brewers. The Cubs are 9-2 in that stretch, including winning the last four games.
“I try and move the ball in and out and change speeds and just really try and throw as many strikes as I could,” he said. “The more you get ahead the less comfortable any hitter is, let alone those guys who are swinging the bat really well right now.”
Dempster threw 111 pitches, 69 of them for strikes.
He caught a huge two-run break in the bottom of the first.
Crew chief John Hirschbeck reviewed Prince Fielder’s(notes) blast to deep center which appeared to land behind the yellow line atop the wall. Second base umpire James Hoye ruled it a double instead of Fielder’s second home run of the season. Macha asked for the review which barely took a minute. Hirschbeck let the call stand. Ryan Braun stayed at third and Casey McGehee(notes) ground out to third to end the inning and preserve the Cubs’ 2-0 lead.
“I got a lucky break when Prince hit that ball off the top of the wall and was able to go deep into the game,” Dempster said. “I thought it was gone.”
Fielder said he saw the ball bounce and just wanted the umps to check it.
“Since they have the tools to do it, they might as well try,” Fielder said. “And, they did a good job.”
Mike Fontenot’s(notes) one-out RBI-single in the fifth, the third consecutive hit, forced Brewers manager Ken Macha to pull Jeff Suppan(notes) (0-1) who was booed off the field. Koyie Hill(notes) singled off reliever Claudio Vargas(notes) to drive in Marlon Byrd(notes).
Each position player had at least one hit off Suppan who gave up six runs and 10 hits over 4 1-3 innings.
Fukudome hit Suppan’s first pitch of the third inning into the right-field bleachers.
The Cubs pushed across two runs in the first.
Theriot doubled and scored on a double by Fukudome. Derrek Lee(notes) followed with a single. Byrd’s fly to right was the second out, but it was deep enough for Fukudome to advance. Suppan had Lee picked off first, but in the run down Fukudome broke for home. Catcher Gregg Zaun(notes) had no chance on shortstop Alcides Escobar’s(notes) wild throw as Fukudome scored.
Suppan’ success comes from hitting the corners and changing speeds. He did neither against the Cubs when it mattered.
“I missed a lot down the middle tonight, especially in the first,” he said after slipping to 6-10 in 25 starts against them.
NOTES: Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez’s(notes) 0-for-19 slump kept him on the bench. … Starter-turned-reliever Carlos Zambrano(notes) settled into his new bullpen routine Friday and should be ready for an appearance on Saturday. … Cubs LHP Ted Lilly(notes) makes his first start of the season Saturday. He’s been on the disabled list since April 4 with a left shoulder arthroscopic debridement. … Football returns to Wrigley Field for the first time since the Chicago Bears played there in 1970 when Northwestern plays Illinois on Nov. 20. … Macha said that the commissioner’s office denied the team’s request to have Fred Dabney shadow bullpen coach Stan Kyles during the series with Pittsburgh. Kyles is expected to be out 4-to-6 weeks after undergoing prostate surgery. Dabney, the pitching coach at Class A Brevard County, officially became the interim bullpen coach on Friday when Kyles left the team.