Rapid Reaction: Cubs 8, Twins 2
June, 10, 2012
By Doug Padilla | ESPNChicago.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep by the Minnesota Twins but finished their 10-game trip with a 2-8 record after an 8-2 victory on Sunday.
How it happened: Ryan Dempster had his second solid start of the road trip and the offense supported his effort once again. Dempster, who started when the Cubs won 10-0 at Milwaukee on Tuesday, did more of the same against the Twins. He gave up four hits with just one walk and struck out six in eight scoreless innings. The Cubs had five different players drive in a run, with David DeJesus driving in three. The Twins avoided the shutout with two unearned runs in the ninth inning off reliever James Russell.
What it means: If the Cubs could get Dempster to start perhaps every other day they’d be in business. That won’t happen, of course, but the right-hander has proven himself to be a stopper on a team that has needed one often. The Cubs have won just five times since May 15, but three of those victories have come during Dempster starts. He won his last two and got a no-decision May 30 when he didn’t pitch well, but the offense stepped up and Darwin Barney won it on a walk-off home run. The Cubs have scored 26 runs in Dempster’s last three starts.
Outside the box: Make that 82 multi-hit games and counting since the start of 2011 for Starlin Castro, who had a double in the sixth inning, a broken-bat single in the eighth and infield single in the ninth. He scored a run after all three hits. It is the most multi-hit games in baseball since Opening Day 2011. Jose Reyes and Hunter Pence had 76 at the start of play Sunday, while Michael Bourn had 74.
Off beat: Castro had another mental gaffe at shortstop in the seventh inning, but this time he recovered. With the Twins’ Trevor Plouffe moving from second base to third, Castro appeared to take his eye off a slow bouncing ball from Drew Butera. The ball skipped off his glove and into shallow left field with Twins third-base coach Steve Liddle quickly waiving home Plouffe. But Castro pounced on the ball, hurried a throw off his back foot to the plate where catcher Koyie Hill made the tag to keep the Twins scoreless to that point.
Up next: The Cubs have a day off Monday before returning to action Tuesday at Wrigley Field with left-hander Paul Maholm (4-5, 5.10 ERA) facing off against Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer (5-4, 5.88) in the 7:05 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.