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No Help for Daisuke

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By ANDREW SELIGMAN   AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) _ Ryan Dempster pitched four-hit ball over seven
shutout innings, and the Chicago Cubs hung on to beat team
president Theo Epstein’s former club, topping the struggling Boston
Red Sox 3-0 on Friday.

The Red Sox loaded the bases against Carlos Marmol in the ninth,
but he got out of it when Dustin Pedroia forced the runner at third
to end the game. That gave Marmol three saves in five chances and
the Cubs a dramatic win after they cruised through the first eight.
Dempster (3-3) stretched his scoreless innings streak to 22 and
lowered his ERA to 2.11 with another dominant performance.
He was at it again after shutting down Milwaukee and Minnesota.
This time, the right-hander struck out three and walked two while
winning his third straight start after going 18 in a row without a
victory.

Dempster also helped himself at the plate with two hits. He
drove his second career triple and scored in the second to make it
3-0 after Steve Clevenger hit a two-run, bases-loaded double off
Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2) in the first, sending Boston to its eighth
loss in 11 games.

Matsuzaka actually settled down after struggling in the early
going.

In his second start after Tommy John elbow surgery, he gave up
three runs and four hits in six innings before being lifted for a
pinch hitter. He walked three _ all in the first _ but eventually
found his rhythm.

The Red Sox simply didn’t give him much support.
They had runners on second and third against Dempster with two
out in the seventh, but Pedroia lined to right to end the threat,
slamming his helmet in disgust.

James Russell retired the side for Chicago in the eighth before
things got tense in the ninth with Marmol on the mound.
Third baseman Luis Valbuena made a diving stop on Jarrod
Saltalamacchia’s hard smash to rob him of a hit leading off. But
after Ryan Sweeney singled, he misplayed Mike Aviles’ grounder,
putting runners on first and second.

Marmol then struck out pinch hitter Daniel Nava but walked Scott
Podsednik to load the bases. He fell behind 2-0 to Pedroia before
he bounced to third on a 2-2 pitch to end the game, giving Marmol
his first save since May 2 against Cincinnati.

Much of the focus before the game centered on Theo Epstein.
After all, the Cubs were meeting the Red Sox for the first time
since he became Chicago’s president of baseball operations in the
offseason.

The Cubs brought him in hoping he could lead them to their first
championship since 1908, after he helped build two title winners
and end a long drought in Boston as the Red Sox’s general manager.

Notes: Red Sox OF Daniel Nava (sore left hand) took batting
practice Friday and was available to play for the first time since
Saturday, manager Bobby Valentine said. He received a cortisone
shot Sunday. … 3B Kevin Youkilis was back in the lineup after
being scratched Wednesday due to sore ribs. “He’s feeling good,”
Valentine said. … Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he’ll probably
stick with 3B Luis Valbuena, who was promoted from Triple-A
Thursday with Ian Stewart (left wrist) going on the 15-day DL. “He
was swinging the bat real well down there, so you try to keep that
left-handed bat in the lineup,” Sveum said. … With Geovany Soto
(left knee) expected to come off the DL early next week, Sveum said
the Cubs might three catchers. The Cubs have Steve Clevenger and
Welington Castillo on their active roster. … Jeff Samardzija
starts Saturday for Chicago, with Jon Lester going for Boston.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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