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Dempster stays in, ball goes out; Cubs fall to Reds
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff

Ryan Dempster took the loss for the Cubs, who are 1-5 on this road trip.


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Published: 5/9/2010 4:45 PM | Updated: 5/9/2010 5:22 PM

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Bruce Miles' game tracker

Not so Great: Cubs starter Ryan Dempster fell to 0-7 for his career at the Great American Ball Park. He worked 7 innings, giving up 6 hits and 5 runs. He has lost 3 straight decisions.

He's back: Tyler Colvin started for the first time since April 30. He hit a 2-run homer in the seventh to put the Cubs ahead 3-2. The hit snapped an 0-for-10 skid and five straight games without a hit.

On a streak: Marlon Byrd extended his hitting streak to five games with a seventh-inning double. He's 8-for-22 during the streak and is batting .347 for the season.

Cubs scouting report

Cubs vs. Florida Marlins at Wrigley Field

TV: Comcast SportsNet Monday and Tuesday; Channel 9 Wednesday

Radio: WGN 720-AM

Pitching matchups: The Cubs' Ted Lilly (1-2) vs. Nate Robertson (2-3) Monday at 7:05 p.m.; Randy Wells (3-1) vs. Ricky Nolasco (2-2) Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.; Carlos Silva (3-0) vs. Chris Volstad (3-2) Wednesday at 1:20 p.m.

At a glance: The Cubs were 4-3 against the Marlins last year, 3-1 at Wrigley Field. This begins an eight-game homestand. Lilly has a 5.29 ERA and has lost his last 2 starts. Nolasco is a former Cubs prospect traded in a deal for Juan Pierre. Ronny Paulino is 7-for-13 against Lilly. Soriano has a pair of homers off Nolasco. Jorge Cantu, Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla lead the offense for the Marlins. Florida entered Sunday seventh in the NL in runs and 11th in OBP (. 326). The Cubs were sixth in runs and second in OBP (. 348). The Marlins and Cubs were 9 and 10, respectively, in ERA.

Next: Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field, Friday-Sunday

class="News">- Bruce Miles

CINCINNATI - The conversation was a quick one.

What followed took just about the same amount of time.

The end result was yet another loss for the Cubs, this time 5-3 to the Cincinnati Reds as the Cubs dropped to 14-18 for the season with a disastrous 1-5 trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

The moment of truth unfolded this way: The Cubs had just rallied from a 2-0 deficit Sunday to take a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning, with the go-ahead 2 runs scoring on Tyler Colvin's homer.

In the bottom of the inning, Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster had runners on first and third with two outs and left-handed batter Joey Votto coming up.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella had lefty Sean Marshall ready in the bullpen. After a brief visit to the mound, Piniella decided to leave Dempster in the game. Votto was hitting .265 with 1 homer against left-handed pitchers and .342 with 5 homers against righties.

He picked on a slider from Dempster and crushed it to the seats in right-center field on Dempster's first offering of the at-bat and the 111th of the game.

"He said he was fine," Piniella said of Dempster. "Two runs, 5 hits over 7 innings. Our bullpen's beat up. The guy hit it out of the ballpark. What are you going to do?

"Marshall was ready. Dempster, I went out to check him. He told me he was fine. We left him in the ballgame. We still had to pitch the eighth. The game wasn't over in the seventh.

"If he had told me he was tired, then we'd have taken him out. But he was fine. We let him pitch. He gave up a home run. What are you going to do? It wasn't like he had thrown 125-30 pitches. It wasn't like they had gotten 5 or 6 or 7 runs off of him."

Dempster fell to 2-3 with a 3.44 ERA. He also had no misgivings about the decision to stay in the game.

"I felt good," he said. "I'd have taken my chances against him, against anybody, anytime, and I felt good. I just didn't execute a pitch.

"Backdoor slider, and it came toward his back foot. He hit it out - got beat by the guy you really don't want to let beat you. It's a tough loss, frustrated to say the least.

"I guarantee you there's nobody more frustrated than I am. But we'll find a way to bounce back."

Cubs hitters had trouble with Reds pitcher Mike Leake (3-0) for the second time this year. Leake didn't give up a hit until Starlin Castro reached on an infield single up the middle to start the sixth. At that point, Leake had faced the minimum.

In the seventh, Marlon Byrd doubled with two outs, went to third on Aramis Ramirez's infield single and scored on a wild pitch. Colvin then went down and pulled a pitch from Leake over the wall in right to give the Cubs their short-lived lead.

After the game, several Cubs stayed on the bench and stared out onto the field.

"We're going to have to do some self-evaluation and figure out what we need to do and prepare for that next one," catcher Koyie Hill said. "All you can do is see the good teams. They take it one game at a time, that next pitch, that next out, next game, and fight back in it then.

"From our standards, 'bad' is a generous word to use. Nobody's satisfied. Nobody's happy. Our heads are up. I think we're eager to become better, yes, but we're not walking out of here proud by any means. We've got a lot of work to do."