Ryan Dempster tossed seven scoreless innings and hit his first triple in over a decade, as the Chicago Cubs handled the Boston Red Sox, 3-0, in the opener of a three-game interleague series.
Dempster (3-3) gave up just four hits while striking out three and walking two for the Cubs, who snapped a two-game skid. The veteran right-hander extended his scoreless innings streak to 22 and has won his last three outings after going 18 straight starts without a victory.
"He's one of the most professional, hard-working people you're ever going to be around," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Dempster. "When he steps out on the mound, it's all 'Game on' with him. It's not trade rumors or, 'Where am I going to go?' It's, 'How am I going to get the next pitch?'"
Steve Clevenger knocked in two runs for Chicago, which is hosting Boston for the first time since 2005. David DeJesus also drove in a run.
This series also features Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein facing his old team. Epstein constructed a pair of World Series-winning teams with the Red Sox (2004 and 2007) as general manager. He departed his post in Beantown after last season to join the Cubs.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2), making his first career start at Wrigley Field, allowed three runs on four hits over six innings. He struck out three and walked three.
Matsuzaka struggled to find the strike zone early on, which allowed the Cubs to score two runs in the first inning. Tony Campana, Alfonso Soriano and Bryan LaHair all walked to load the bases with two outs. Clevenger followed with a two-run double down the left-field line.
Chicago tacked on another run in the second to expand the lead to 3-0. Dempster helped his own cause with a triple down the right-field line. The ball skipped past a diving Adrian Gonzalez to give Dempster his first triple since May 12, 2002. Starlin Castro was hit by a pitch to put men on the corners with two outs. DeJesus then hit an RBI single to right.
Boston's best chance to score off Dempster came in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Nick Punto walked and stole second with two outs. Scott Podsednik then reached first on an infield single. After Podsednik stole second, Dustin Pedroia lined out to end the threat.
The Cubs sent Carlos Marmol to the mound in the ninth to close out the game. Despite loading the bases with two outs, Marmol got Pedroia to ground into a fielder's choice. It was Marmol's third save of the season.
"We're just not playing good. We scored no runs. You can't win a game it you score zero runs," Pedroia said.
The Cubs lost two of three matchups with Boston a year ago...Matsuzaka remains one win away from 50 in his career (49-32)...Red Sox left fielder Daniel Nava was not in the starting lineup for a fifth straight game because of a sore left hand. He struck out looking as a pinch-hitter in the ninth...Boston went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners.