Dempster, Cubs blank Sox at Wrigley, 3-0

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Dempster, Cubs blank Sox at Wrigley, 3-0

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs may have the worst record in either league, but that didn't stop them from shutting down the Red Sox in the first game of a three-game set between Theo Epstein's former and current teams.

The Red Sox mustered just five hits -- two never left the infield -- and were blanked for the third time this season, 3-0 by the lowly Cubs.

Ryan Dempster, a prime candidate to dealt off by Epstein before next month's trade deadline, improved his stock when he pitched shutout six innings and the struggling Cubs bullpen took it from there.

The Sox had baserunners at third base in the first and seventh innings but couldn't come up with a timely hit. With runners at first-and-third in the seventh, Dustin Pedroia shot a hard liner to right, but it was hauled in by David DeJesus, as Pedroia slammed his helmet to the ground in frustration.

Boston put the leadoff man on in three of the first five innings, but couldn't push a run across. In the ninth, they loaded the bases against Carlos Marmol, but Pedroia, representing the go-ahead run at the plate, hit into a game-ending fielder's choice.

Daisuke Matsuzaka encountered command issues in the first inning, walking the bases loaded before yielding a two-run single to Steve Clevenger.

The Cubs tacked on another run in the second when Adrian Gonzalez made an ill-advised diving attempt at a tailing liner off the bat of Dempster, playing it into a triple for the pitcher. A two-out single by DeJesus scored him from third.

STAR OF THE GAME: Ryan Dempster
Dempster is almost certain to be traded by the July 31 deadline and for scouts watching, they had to be impressed. He tossed six shutout innings, and helped himself with a triple and single in two at-bats.

HONORABLE MENTION: Steve Clevenger
Clevenger delivered the only runs Dempster and the rest of the Cubs pitchers would need when he lashed a two-run double into the left field corner in the first inning.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Daisuke Matsuzaka
Matsuzaka didn't pitch badly -- three runs in six innings -- but as was the case in his first return from the disabled list, he didn't pitch well enough to win, putting the Sox in a 2-0 hole in the first, in part because of three walks.

TURNING POINT: The Sox had a hint of a rally in the seventh when, with two outs, pinch-hitter Nick Punto worked a walk and Scott Podsednik followed with his second infield hit of the day. But when Dustin Pedroia lined out hard to right, the Sox' last best chance to get something going offensively had come and gone.

BY THE NUMBERS: Kevin Youkilis was 0-for-4, and since the start of the last homestand, is just 3-for-30.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "We're not trying to be (lousy). Everyone's trying, man. We're just not playing good." - Dustin Pedroia

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz 'not demoralized'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz 'not demoralized'

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 8-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies:

 

QUOTES

"Yeah. Dave (Dombrowski), and I and Carl (Willis), we always have conversations about every guy, so this will be no different. We know that Eddie (Rodriguez) is ready to come back to us, but there's been no decision made as of right now.'' - John Farrell, asked whether the team intends to assess Clay Buchholz's spot in the starting rotation.

"(I'm) not demoralized. The team's still winning. I'm basically the only one that's struggling. . . The other guys are doing a really good job of picking up the slack that I'm leaving behind.'' - Buchholz.

"That's out of my pay grade; I can't worry about that. I'm here to pitch. If I don't have a spot, that's part of it. As they say, if you don't like it, pitch better. That's what it comes down to.'' - Buchholz.

"It was a fun ride. I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. Most of all, the team played really well during it. I was blessed to be in this situation.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr. on the end of his 29-game winning streak.

"I'm very proud of myself. To be able to get the opportunity to go this far, it's a blessing. I wouldn't say I'm disappointed. Obviously, you want to get a hit, but it's tough getting a hit day-in, day-out. It was a pretty special run for me.'' - Bradley.

 

NOTES

* Jackie Bradley Jr's 29-game hitting streak came to an end. It's tied for the fourth-longest streak in franchise history.

* Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 19 games, now the longest such streak in the big leagues.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base via a walk or a hit in each of his last 15 starts.

* In David Ortiz's last 15 games, he has 16 extra-base hits and 20 RBI.

* The Red Sox have scored 51 runs in the first inning over 47 games, an average of 1.09 per first inning.

* Ortiz (double, homer) passed Ty Cobb to move into 13th place on the all-time extra-base hit list.

* Ortiz set a personal record by knocking in multiple runs for the fourth straight game.

* The three homers allowed by Clay Buchholz were a season-high.

 

STARS

1) Jon Gray

Gray earned the first road win of his career by going 7 1/3 innings and blanking the Red Sox after the first inning.

2) Dustin Garneau

The Colorado catcher set a career best with six total bases, hitting a two-run homer in the fifth and a double in the ninth.

3) David Ortiz

Ortiz homered in the first inning to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead four batters into the game, then chipped in with a leadoff double in the fourth.