Cubs Beat Pirates Behind Ramirez, Bullpen

Ryan Dempster got his first win as a starter since July of 2003 while Kip Wells lost to the Cubs for the first time ever in a 4-3 Chicago victory at PNC Park Saturday.

The Pirates got off to a 1-0 lead in the first inning against Dempster (1-2), who walked three of the first four batters he saw before allowing a run on Daryle Ward's RBI single to center.

Dempster later surrendered a solo home run to OF Matt Lawton in the third inning and a questionable RBI infield hit to 2B Rob Mackowiak in the fifth to finish the night with three runs and six hits allowed in six innings. (With two away and runners at the corners, Mackowiak was ruled safe at first when Nomar Garciaparra's off-line throw temporarily pulled Derrek Lee off the bag.)

Aramis Ramirez first got the Cubs on the board with a three-run blast in the top of the third, his 10th home run against the Pirates since being traded by the club in 2003. Then in the seventh, Mike Fontenot scored his first major league run on Neifi Perez's one-out double to break a 3-3 tie and put the Cubs on top for good at 4-3.

The Cubs wasted a scoring opportunity in the eighth inning when Todd Hollandsworth tripled with two away and was thrown out trying to score on an errant throw from the outfield, which pitcher Salomon Torres alertly backed up.

A half-inning later, the Cubs got out of a bases-loaded jam with two away when Chad Fox struck out catcher David Ross to end the inning. LaTroy Hawkins recorded his first save of the season, retiring Mackowiak on a game-ending groundout to short for his 26th save since joining the team.

Wells (0-3) suffered his third defeat in as many starts this year, allowing all four Cub runs in 6.1 innings.

Postgame Notes

Perez started at second base and continued his hot hitting with a 2-for-4 night at the plate. He has hit safely in five straight games and has 10 hits in his last 19 at-bats. Dempster was originally slated to start Sunday's series finale but was moved up to Saturday; Greg Maddux will now start Sunday against left-hander Mark Redman. Prior to Saturday's game, Wells was 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA in 10 career starts against the Cubs.


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