MILWAUKEE -- After a rough couple of starts, this was one memorable victory for Ryan Dempster.
Dempster struck out eight in seven crisp innings, earning his 100th career win and helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 1-0 on Saturday night.
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"Just to get to the big leagues is one thing, but to win 100 games is a special thing," the 33-year-old right-hander said. "It really is. It means a lot. Especially coming from Canada, there's not a lot of people that have done it. It really gives me a greater appreciation for those guys out there that have won 300 games."Dempster (13-10) was coming off a pair of shaky starts, both double-digit losses for Chicago. He allowed seven runs over three innings in a 14-7 loss to Pittsburgh on Aug. 31 and yielded seven runs -- three earned -- over 4 2/3 innings in a 18-5 drubbing by the New York Mets last Sunday."It's been a struggle my last couple times out," he said. "So to go out there and throw the ball well again felt good. Your team throws a shutout, great job by all the guys in the bullpen. It was a lot of fun."Dempster allowed three hits and walked two, improving to 15-2 with a 2.90 ERA in 22 career starts against the Brewers. The right-hander retired 21 of the first 26 batters on his way to his 50th victory with Chicago."He was really sharp tonight," Cubs interim manager Mike Quade said after the club improved to 6-2 at Miller Park this season.Xavier Nady homered for Chicago, which got an outstanding outing from Carlos Zambrano in a 4-0 victory in the series opener Friday night.Randy Wolf (11-11) pitched eight innings for Milwaukee, yielding four hits and one walk. The left-hander is 4-2 with a 3.07 ERA in nine starts since he was roughed up at Pittsburgh on July 21, yielding 12 runs and 13 hits in 5 2/3 innings.His only mistake was the 0-1 curveball out over the plate that Nady hit for his sixth homer in the seventh inning, banging the drive off the left-field foul pole."That ball just stayed true," Wolf said. "It's a matter of probably six to eight inches of allowing a foul ball or home run."Nady said he thought it was going to be foul "by 10 or 15 feet.""I was almost to the point where I wasn't even going to run to first because I thought I pulled it that far foul," he said.Milwaukee put runners on first and second in the eighth before Andrew Cashner struck out Ryan Braun for the second out. Sean Marshall then came in and fanned Prince Fielder to end the inning.Carlos Marmol pitched the ninth for his 30th save in 35 chances.Casey McGehee reached on an infield single in the fourth, Wolf had a base hit in the fifth and Alcides Escobar singled in the seventh for Milwaukee's only hits.Dempster is 4-0 with a 2.23 ERA in five starts against Milwaukee this season. He has won his last four road starts for the first time since a career-high five in a row for the Marlins in 2001.Asked if there was something about Milwaukee that he liked, he said jokingly, "The brats are awesome. I enjoy this field. I enjoy the atmosphere here in the clubhouse. It's a great mound to throw off of. For whatever reason I have had some success here."Brewers manager Ken Macha said Dempster gave his hitters trouble all night."Our guys keep saying they can't see the spin on his slider," Macha said.Dempster made his major league debut with Florida in 1998 and also has played for the Cincinnati Reds. He also had 87 saves for Chicago from 2004-07.
Brewers vice president of communications Tyler Barnes said the team was unable to determine who stuffed a fake press release critical of Cubs general manager Jim Hendry into the game notes in the press box before Friday night's game. ... Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez missed his fifth consecutive game with a sore right quad and remains day to day. ... Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin, assistant general manager Gord Ash and Macha met before the game. Macha said that his contract status was not on the agenda.