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Dempster, Cubs Avoid Sweep in Cincinnati

The odds seemed to be against the Cubs prior to Wednesday’s series finale in Cincinnati. They lost eight games in a row, opposing pitcher Bronson Arroyo has owned them recently, and the Reds were 16-3 in their last 19 games against the Cubs.

To make matters worse, before the game even started their seemed to be some doubt to the availability of starter Ryan Dempster. During warmups something happened to Dempster that required a visit to the bullpen from trainer Ed Halbur and manager Mike Quade. Whatever the issue was, didn’t prevent Dempster from starting which turned out to be great for the Cubs.

Thanks to back-to-back homers by Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena and a fantastic outing by Dempster and the bullpen, the Cubs won the series finale and ended their losing streak at eight games.

Dempster (5-5) came through with his best start of the season. The Cubs (24-36) ace went six innings and allowed one run on just three hits. He also struck out eight and walked just one. Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall, and Carlos Marmol each pitched a perfect inning to secure the win. For Marmol it was his 11th save of the season.

Bronson Arroyo pitched ok for the Reds (32-31). Arroyo (4-6) went six and a third and allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits. This was Arroyo’s only second loss in his last eight starts against the Cubs.

With Wednesday’s victory the Cubs are now 1-5 on their current ten game trip. Things won’t get any easier as they now head to Philadelphia for a four game series.