Right-hander Ryan Dempster returned to the mound Saturday and picked up his sixth win, throwing five innings and giving up three runs.
Dempster, who missed his previous start due to back and hip soreness and was originally sidelined by a mysterious gastrointestinal disorder, was unhappy for other reasons after manager Mike Quade pulled him after 87 pitches.
"He battled through five and came out with a win," Quade said, "but I don't think he was very happy coming out. But he never is, really. Fortunately, the bullpen did a good job."
Quade said the blowup by Dempster happens all the time, not in front of cameras or the media.
"That's what [Carlos Zambrano] does, but Demps was a little more forceful trying to convince me. I thought it was time [to take him out], he obviously disagreed. The volume was different. Z's been pretty good from time to time. But yeah, he was adamant and fiery, and I like that.
"The pitch count doesn't always matter, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, but I have to go by what I saw."
The Cubs featured a 14-hit attack led by Starlin Castro, who had three hits.
Aramis Ramirez remained hot with two hits, however he said if he's picked for the All-Star game tomorrow he's uncertain he'll play. Although Scott Rolen was named to replace injured third baseman Chipper Jones, Ramirez could still make the team if Philadelphia's Placido Polanco, who has battled injures, decides to sit out.
"I don't know what I'd say," Ramirez said. "My family has already gone to the Dominican Republic. I'm planning to go there and join them as well."
Ramirez was asked more definitively if he'd consider the honor.
"I don't know, we'll have to wait and see," he said.
The bullpen came back to form after Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol blew the lead and game on Friday. The overtaxed pen has 17 innings in the last four games. But Marmol was able to come in and throw a shutout inning for the save. Jeff Samardzija and Kerry Wood combined for three shutouts innings.
Samardzija has heard rumblings that he might be asked to start in the second half and said he he's ready for anything.
"I'd start," he said. "Obviously no doubt about it. I said for along time that's what I want to do."