5/25 Cubs looking good

Lou Piniella has seen some good things lately from the Cubs, who blanked the Dodgers 3-0 Tuesday night.

“We’re playing with a little more intensity,” he said. “Our defensive play has gotten a whole lot better and that really helps our pitching. We’re starting to get key hits that allow us to win baseball games. I’m optimistic. We just have to keep playing, though.”

Ryan Dempster is seeing some good things, too.

“We’re starting to play better,” Dempster said. “We had a real good end of the homestand and good road trip. … We’re starting to do things better and play better baseball and play with a lot of energy and hopefully that carries over and translates into a lot of victories.”

They were able to do the little things against the Dodgers — take advantage of an error, steal a base, get a RBI hit.

“We seem to be doing more of that lately and coming up with two-out hits,” Dempster said. “I think definitely the better competition you play, it brings out the best in you and maybe that’s what pushes you over the hump.”

* Dempster also had no problem handing the ball over to Carlos Marmol, who pitched the ninth for his 10th save. Dempster has been the only starter on a regular five-day rotation while the others have gotten a breather now and then. Marmol retired the side, striking out Manny Ramirez to end the game.

“[Marmol] is starting to hit that fastball down and away and he’s got as good a slider as I’ve ever seen and as anybody in the league has right now,” Dempster said.

– Carrie Muskat

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