Rapid Reaction: Cubs 4, Dbacks 1


CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs recorded their 11th victory in their past 15 games, cutting down the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1 on Saturday at Wrigley Field.

How it happened: In what might have been his final outing in a Cubs uniform, Ryan Dempster extended his scoreless streak to 33 innings with six more against the Diamondbacks. The offense continues to string together hits, something it rarely did over the first 2 months. Present were the rare clutch hits like the back-to-back two-out RBI hits from Darwin Barney and Luis Valbuena in the fourth inning.

What it means: General manager Jed Hoyer admitted before the game that trade calls were increasing. He didn’t mention Dempster as the subject of those calls but it is believed that plenty of teams were asking about the right-hander. If Dempster is traded, a 33-inning scoreless streak was a brilliant way to end his Cubs career. He would go out with a bang and maximize the trade package in return.

Outside the box: The 33-inning scoreless streak was the longest of Dempster’s career, passing the 30 1/3-inning scoreless streak he posted as a reliever. It is one of four scoreless streaks of at least 33 innings by a Cubs pitcher in the last 95 seasons, tying Ken Holtzman’s 33-inning mark in 1969. In 1938, Bill Lee had scoreless streaks of 35 and 37 innings.

Off beat: Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Culter started out as an enthusiastic guest of the Cubs when he fired the honorary first pitch into the glove of Tony Campana before the game. He apparently isn’t as enamored with his singing voice as he is with his right arm, as his “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” rendition fell a bit flat. But no worries. At least he didn’t close out his moment on the mic with “Let’s get some touchdowns.”

Up next: The Cubs will send right-hander Matt Garza (4-7, 4.32 ERA) to the mound Sunday in the series finale. The Diamondbacks will counter with right-hander Trevor Cahill (7-7, 3.64) in the 1:20 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.