Cubs put White Sox streak on ice
Dempster shines for seven; Colvin, Soriano homer
CHICAGO -- Forget about the Carlos Zambrano incident. The focus Sunday for the Cubs was not what to do when Zambrano returns, nor was it bragging rights in the city. Instead, the focus was on playing well against the red-hot White Sox.
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
Rookie Tyler Colvin drove in four runs, including three on his 10th homer, Alfonso Soriano added a solo shot and Derrek Lee hit a two-run double to back Ryan Dempster and lift the Cubs to an 8-6 victory over their intracity rivals, snapping the White Sox winning streak at 11 games.
The Cubs now are 1-1 since Zambrano's dugout flareup, but players credit a closed-door meeting Saturday with getting them back on track.
"It's not because of the Zambrano incident that we won today," Aramis Ramirez said. "We're not going to get hot because of it. No team wants to go through that. You don't want teammates going after each other, especially in the dugout in front of everybody, the TV and fans. It's unfortunate but you have to move on."
Dempster (6-6) benefited from the offense as the Cubs scored more than three runs for the second time in the last eight games. The right-hander served up nine hits, including Paul Konerko's leadoff homer in the sixth, over seven innings while striking out eight.
"He made some big pitches," the White Sox Juan Pierre said. "He's one of those bulldog pitchers, where he got the lead and he kind of smelled blood right there."
The first inning continued to be a little problem for Dempster as he gave up a two-run single to Carlos Quentin. Dempster has been charged with 11 runs in the first innings of his 16 starts.
The Cubs answered in the third. They had two on after Geovany Soto and Starlin Castro both singled, and Colvin followed with his 10th home run off the first pitch from lefty John Danks (7-6). He was tied for the team lead in homers with Lee and Soriano until Soriano's leadoff blast in the eighth off Tony Pena, which was his 11th.
"He hangs in there well," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said of the rookie Colvin. "Once Colvin gets a good recognition of the strike zone, the ball jumps off his bat very well and he hangs in there against left-hand pitching very well.
"Does it surprise me? No," Piniella said. "He's got good bat speed, the ball jumps off his bat. He's a confident kid. He believes he can get it done and that's a big ingredient for young kids."
Big hits have been tough to come by. Colvin was the last Cubs player to hit a three-run homer, doing so June 18 against the Angels. Before that, you have to go back to May 7, when Castro hit a three-run blast in his first at-bat and Mike Fontenot hit a grand slam in the eighth.
"I've tried to stay the same the whole time and not change anything," said Colvin, who had only two hits in his past 17 at-bats coming into Sunday's game.
The rookie now is batting .308 with 26 RBIs in his past 48 games. He has noticed a change in pitchers' approach as they try to determine what he'll chase.
"I haven't been missing many pitches against [left-handers]," he said. "I don't know why."
"The better he does, the more he'll play," Piniella said. "We need offense and whoever is swinging the bat gets in the lineup."
Colvin and Marlon Byrd singled with one out in the fifth to set up Lee, who started as the designated hitter because of some minor back problems. Soto added an RBI double in the sixth and Colvin hit an RBI single with two outs in the eighth off lefty Randy Williams.
The White Sox made it interesting in the ninth when they scored three runs against closer Carlos Marmol, who walked two batters with one out.
"Thank God we had that big cushion," Piniella said.
The Cubs finished Interleague Play 8-10 and are fourth in the National League Central, 8 1/2 games back, with Zambrano's return hanging over the team.
"We'll handle that when he comes back," Dempster said. "Right now, we're just worried about trying to win a ballgame."
Can the Cubs forgive and forget? Zambrano accused his teammates of not playing well behind him during his rant.
"I have a pretty short-term memory," Dempster said. "I can't remember what pitch I threw in the seventh inning."
Soriano tried to call Zambrano on Saturday night, but discovered he had an old phone number.
"[Zambrano] knows what he has to do and I think he's smart," Soriano said. "Whatever he did on Friday was because of the emotion of the game. He did it at the wrong time."
A pregame meeting Saturday in which players spoke up has helped the Cubs bond.
"The meeting we had yesterday made everybody have more energy," Soriano said. "The meeting woke up a lot of people on this team. I think some people felt a little down, but that meeting gave everybody more motivation and more belief in themselves in the clubhouse.
"Whatever happened on Friday is part of the game," he said. "We don't talk about it. We put this team in the front."
Piniella was encouraged, too.
"We played two good ballgames the last two days and we had some energy," he siad. "We did some good things and again, [the White Sox], they've been the hottest team in baseball. ... For us to come in here and win this last game, put some runs on the board, swing the bats well -- we made it a little exciting at the end. It's in the win column. Let's go back to Wrigley and have a good series against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati and go from there."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.