Cardinals make short work of Dempster

ST. LOUIS -- Entering Friday’s game with a five-game winning streak at Busch Stadium was of no help to the depleted Chicago Cubs.

Home runs from Lance Berkman and Albert Pujols made it a short night for right-hander Ryan Dempster in a 6-1 St. Louis Cardinals victory.

Dempster, who lost for the fifth time in 2011, has given up 13 home runs in 13 starts this year.

Berkman’s three-run homer got the Cardinals going in the first inning.

“A three-run homer in the first really puts your team in a hole,” Dempster said. “I did not execute a fastball in, and paid for it.”

Pujols’ two-run home run came on a breaking ball in the Cardinals’ fifth.

“I threw a slider to Pujols that stayed up a little bit,” Dempster said. “He hit it out. When you throw three pitches to him at the same speed [and] you don’t get the third one where you want to, he’s going to hit it.”

Dempster gave up four home runs to Pujols in 2010 and seven total in his career.

Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia did the rest on Friday, allowing just four hits and one run in eight innings to post his sixth win this season.

One of the few bright spots for the Cubs was third-baseman D.J. LeMahieu’s first major league hit.

LeMahieu, who was starting at third base in place of the injured Aramis Ramirez, got an infield single off of Garcia in the eighth inning.

“I always hit lefties pretty well,” LeMahieu said. “He was changing speeds very well. He looked pretty good out there.”

The Cubs have lost six of their last seven games and four straight. The Cardinals now lead the fifth-place Cubs by nine games in the National League Central.