CHICAGO (AP) — Ryan Dempster pitched three-hit ball over eight innings, Derrek Lee homered and drove in all three runs, and the Chicago Cubs beat the surging Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 on Tuesday night.
Lee, who came in with a .218 average, had three hits and the Cubs won for the seventh time in nine games.
He drove in Ryan Theriot with a single off Clayton Kershaw (4-3) in the sixth after shortstop Rafael Furcal booted his grounder. Lee made it 3-0 in the eighth with a two-run shot off Ramon Trancoso — his sixth homer this season and 299th in all — after Starlin Castro reached on a throwing error by Furcal.
That was enough for Dempster (3-4), who handed the Dodgers just their third loss in 15 games with his first while earning his first win since April 23.
He simply shut down a team that came in with a major league-leading .288 average against right-handers, striking out seven while walking one and retiring his final 13 batters after going 0-4 in his previous five starts.
Carlos Marmol struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 10th save in 12 chances.
The Dodgers wasted another strong effort by Kershaw, who allowed one unearned run and four hits over six innings but took the loss after winning his previous three starts.
The left-hander did not allow a hit until Lee lined a one-out double to left center in the fourth, just past Manny Ramirez. Marlon Byrd, who came in on a 2-for-23 slump, then blooped a single to right to put runners on first and third, but Alfonso Soriano struck out and Xavier Nady grounded to third to end the threat.
The Cubs finally broke through in the sixth, after Furcal's first error.
Back after missing 24 games with a strained left hamstring, he booted the ball trying to backhand Theriot's leadoff grounder and Chicago took advantage.
Theriot stole second with one out and came around on Lee's line-drive single to center, making it 1-0.
Byrd lined another single to center, putting runners on first and second, but Kershaw escaped more damage by retiring Soriano on a pop and Nady on a liner to center following a visit by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.
Furcal made another error in the eighth when his throw pulled first baseman James Loney off the bag. Lee then drove a fastball from Trancoso out to right, making it 3-0.
NOTES: The Dodgers placed left-handed reliever George Sherrill on the 15-day DL because of tightness in his mid-back. ... Carlos Zambrano will likely be back in the Cubs' rotation next week after throwing 75 pitches in a simulated game on Monday. Manager Lou Piniella says Zambrano will be available for short relief beginning on Thursday and probably start during the three-game series at Pittsburgh early next week. ... Struggling 3B Aramis Ramirez was out of the Cubs' lineup for the third time in four games because of a sore left thumb. Jeff Baker started in his place. ... Jackie Chan threw out the first pitch, and former Cubs closer Lee Smith led the seventh-inning rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."