<
>

Winning best medicine for banged-up Cubs

CHICAGO -- The only way the Chicago Cubs could deal with their rash of injuries and loss of personnel was to try and go out and win a ballgame.

And that’s exactly what Ryan Dempster and company did on Tuesday night, taking advantage of three Mets errors in an 11-1 win at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs scored five times in the second inning, aided by an error on Mets catcher Ronny Paulino. Paulino failed to catch a throw to home plate by first baseman Daniel Murphy on Koyie Hill's fielder’s choice, allowing Alfonso Soriano to score.

“It was just nice for us,” Dempster said. “We scored a bunch of runs and we took advantage of a big error there. I think we scored four runs after that. It was a good victory for us.”

Dempster’s seven innings matched his longest outing of the season and earned him his third win. He’s gone seven innings four times this year.

The victory was important for the Northsiders, especially after the team announced earlier on Tuesday that starter Matt Garza had gone on the disabled list with a sore right elbow. Randy Wells (strained right forearm ) and Andrew Cashner (strained rotator cuff )have been on the disabled list since April 8. Cashner suffered a recent setback but Wells is scheduled to return this weekend.

“You know, injuries happen,” Dempster said. “It’s a chance for other people to get opportunities and hopefully we continue to get guys back. We get Wells back on Saturday and hopefully Garza not too long after that.”

On offense, once again the daily double of Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro got the job done. Batting in the No. 2 and No. 3 holes, each player drove in two runs and they’re now tied with Soriano for the team lead with 23.

“This is a big homestand for us,” Barney said. “We have nine [games] here and we are starting to swing it. We are going to get good starts. Unfortunately, we do have some injuries, but we are very confident in everybody we have.”

Luis Montanez, who the Cubs drafted No. 3 overall in the 2000 draft, played a solid game in his Cubs debut. Montanez was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Montanez, who returned to the Cubs as a free agent this season after spending three years in the Baltimore Orioles organization. “It’s been a long road, working on all aspects of the game. I think I’m where I want to be.”

Upcoming Cubs rotation: Finishing off the Mets series are right-hander Casey Coleman on Wednesday and Carlos Zambrano on Thursday. Doug Davis starts the series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, followed by Wells on Saturday. It will be Wells’ first start since April 4.