CHICAGO -- When two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum takes the mound, it’s never a stretch to think you’re about to watch an offense get shutdown. Lincecum was solid, tossing seven innings of one-run ball, but it was Ryan Dempster who managed outduel the Giants’ ace on Wednesday.
After the Chicago Cubs’ 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants, Dempster said there wasn’t any extra motivation for him when facing a top-flight pitcher like Lincecum.
“My juices and adrenaline are flowing anyway,” Dempster said. “I just try to go out there and execute pitches no matter who I’m pitching against.”
Though Dempster failed to get the win, he was utterly dominant. Dempster retired 20 straight batters at one point but was pulled after giving a double to Pat Burrell to lead off the ninth. Burrell ended up scoring to tie the game, but the Cubs pulled out the win when Aramis Ramirez singled in Tony Campana in the bottom half of the inning.
Manager Mike Quade got the long outing he had hoped for from Dempster after his bullpen pitched nine innings in Tuesday’s doubleheader. Quade wasn’t going to take any chances in the ninth, saying he had decided that he was pulling Dempster if he gave up a walk or an extra-base hit.
While Dempster said he only cared about his team winning and wasn’t upset about being pulled from the game, Quade felt differently.
“He didn’t want to [come out] and I don’t blame him, short of fighting me,” Quade said. “He wants to finish and I want to bring in a guy who is there regularly . . . deep down I don’t want him losing that game.”
Dempster has bounced back from a horrible April, a month in which he posted a 9.58 ERA, giving up nine home runs in six starts.
“I think maybe sometimes I make it a little bit harder on myself than I need to as far as trying to be too perfect or trying to make a better pitch than I have to make,” Dempster said. “I was able to just attack and make good pitches and get good results.”
Since his awful start to the season, Dempster had delivered a solid 3.11 ERA in 11 starts. Dempster has allowed more than three earned runs only twice since April and he’s hoping that he’s finally gotten into the swing of things.
“Yeah, that’d be cool, I’ll take a groove for a while,” Dempster said. “I was far from it early on in the season, seem to be throwing the ball better. Hopefully I just keep going and groovin’ it up.”