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Dempster whiffs 9 in 7 innings as Cubs top M's 1-0

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Ryan Dempster showed he is ready to again be the No. 2 starter for the Cubs, striking out nine and allowing just four hits in seven scoreless innings as Chicago beat the Seattle Mariners 1-0 on Sunday.

Dempster struck out three consecutive batters with the bases full to end his day. The strikeouts were the most by a Cubs pitcher in a game this spring.

The right-hander has won 28 games over the last two seasons for Chicago.

Ryan Rowland-Smith was almost as sharp as Dempster. One of the few healthy veterans behind Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, Rowland-Smith allowed five hits and one run in seven innings.

Chicago's Xavier Nady was 0 for 3 starting his first game in the outfield since last April. The former Yankee is returning from elbow surgery.