3/28 Dempster cruises to win

Ryan Dempster hasn’t worn the home whites in Arizona all spring. He’s doing pretty well as a road warrior. On Sunday, the right-hander struck out nine over seven scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory over the Mariners in front of a Cactus League-record crowd of 13,629.

“I’ve been waiting for the season to start and that was as good as I’ve thrown the ball all spring by far,” Dempster said. “I was really happy today.”

He cruised through the first six innings, striking out six and giving up two hits, but got into a jam in the seventh. The Mariners loaded the bases as Casey Kotchman singled, Ken Griffey Jr. walked and Eric Byrnes singled. Dempster then struck out the side to escape the mess.

“That last inning, I was so mad that I walked [Griffey] because it was a situation you don’t want to get yourself into,” Dempster said. “I was able to make pitches and bear down. Even though I didn’t get extended pitch-wise a whole bunch, the intensity of pitching into the seventh and having that be your most stressful inning, it was a lot of good work and a real good stepping stone for getting ready for the season.

Dempster has one more outing on Friday at Chase Field against the Diamondbacks. He has not pitched at the Cubs’ home HoHoKam Park all spring and the only time he wore home whites was in Las Vegas in a road trip against the White Sox March 13.

“I sent them away,” Dempster said of his home uniform. “I sent them to Chicago. I won’t need them until then.”

— Carrie Muskat

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