- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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Dempster’s last win came July 11 against Washington and the veteran pitcher had not won a game in 18 starts, during which Dempster went 0-9 with nine no-decisions.
The Brewers were a perfect remedy for Dempster, who has a lifetime record of 16-6 versus Milwaukee, and for the Cubs, which had lost 11 straight road games (tied for a franchise record with the 1954 team.)
Dempster was perfect through five innings before Cody Ransom's leadoff single up the middle to lead off the sixth.
“I was thinking about a perfect game,” Dempster said. “I’m not an idiot. I know I hadn’t had any on base. It would have been fun, but five innings is still just five innings.”
Dempster threw 101 pitches in his seven shutout innings on Tuesday.
“He did a great job considering everything he has had to go through,” manager Dale Sveum said. “To finally get off that schneid and to keep on adding the runs, too, made everything a lot simpler.”
Starlin Castro, who came out of a 2-for15 slump with three hits, had a face-to-face meeting with his manager before the game to clear the air after he forgot how many outs there were during Monday’s loss.
“It helped me a lot because he talked to me and said, ‘Today is a new day. Don’t think about [yesterday]. Just don’t let it happen again,’” Castro said.
The usually hapless Cubs offense scored 10 runs in the victory after scoring just six runs total in their last four games. Alfonso Soriano, who has been the main power source for the club as of late, hit a three-run home run off of Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo in the first inning. For Soriano it marked the eighth series in a row in which he has homered after going six homerless weeks to begin the season.
“That was a huge one to finally have more than a one-run lead in the first inning off of a quality starter,” said a relieved Sveum. “It was nice to get some big hits.”
The shutout was the third by the Cubs as a team this season and the second against the Brewers (8-0 on April 12).