Behind a gem of a pitching performance from Ryan Dempster and some timely hitting, the Chicago Cubs beat the Minnesota Twins 8-2 on Sunday afternoon to avoid a weekend sweep. The veteran pitcher was dealing all afternoon, giving the Cubs eight exceptional innings before letting the bullpen finish off the game.
If Dempster had accumulated fewer than 117 pitches in the first eight innings, he likely would have been given the chance to finish off the shutout. One certainly can't complain with his work on Sunday, though, as the 35-year-old allowed just four hits and zero walks over his eight shutout innings.
James Russell didn't fare nearly as well in relief, allowing the Twins to load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth after an error by Ian Stewart put the lead-off man on base. Luckily he had breathing room to work with, as the lefty ultimately allowed two runs before getting the final out.
The top of the batting order did its part on Sunday, as Reed Johnson and Starlin Castro combined to get on base seven times and score six runs, plus David DeJesus had three RBI as the No. 3 hitter. Minnesota's Joe Mauer went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, the first time he's had three or more strikeouts in a game since 2009.