4/11 Brewers 2, Cubs 1
Once again, Ryan Dempster pitched well enough to win Wednesday but once again, the Cubs couldn’t come up with enough runs to back him up. George Kottaras was Dempster’s 1,000th strikeout victim in the fifth, and the backup catcher got revenge in the seventh when he hit a two-run homer to lift the Brewers to victory over the Cubs. On Opening Day, Dempster (0-1) struck out 10 and was charged with one run on two hits. On Wednesday, he fanned five over 6 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits. The problem was, one of those hits landed in the Wrigley Field bleachers.
“I could’ve won that game today if I make a couple better pitches in the seventh inning,” Dempster said. “Those games are the ones where a mistake can cost you a game and I made a mistake and it cost us the game. I’d like to make some better pitches there and unfortunately I left a cutter over the plate and he hit it out. That was enough to win the game for them.”
Sveum had no complaints about his starter.
“He pitched great, he pitched awesome,” Dale Sveum said.
The Brewers trailed 1-0 going into the seventh when Mat Gamel doubled to lead off and one out later, Kottaras launched a 1-2 pitch to right.
“He threw everything for strikes and kind of kept us off balance,” Kottaras said of Dempster, who notched his 1,000th K with the Cubs when he got the catcher swinging to open the fifth. “It’s tough to get in a rhythm when he does that, but we definitely came out on top today. [The pitch] was down and in, and I was trying to stay through the middle. I wasn’t trying to hit a home run. It put a good swing on it and off it went.”
* All six of the Cubs games this year have been decided by three runs or less. Last season, they opened the year with seven such games, which was the first time the team had done that since 1950.
* David DeJesus has a .391 on-base percentage, which is 128 points higher than his batting average (.263).
* Kerry Wood struck out the side in the eighth. It’s the first time he’s done that since last Aug. 22 vs. the Braves. Wood was able to mix in a few curveballs.
“I think it’s going to be a huge asset to him to get that curveball back,” Sveum said.
* Dempster did notch his 1,000th strikeout with the Cubs when he fanned Kottaras in the fifth. He’s the 12th pitcher in franchise history to reach 1,000 Ks with the Cubs.
* After closing the series against the Brewers, the Cubs travel to St. Louis to face the defending World Champs.
“I don’t see much of a breather throughout the whole season,” Dempster said. “I think there’s more parity in baseball. Every series you play, every game you play, any team has a chance to win. That’s the nice part about the game nowadays. For us, that’s what we’re going to do is try to win as many as possible and put losses behind you and build off the wins.”
* Matt Garza closes the series vs. the Brewers Thursday, facing Zack Greinke. First pitch scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT.
– Carrie Muskat