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Dempster pitches Cubs to sweep of White Sox

The White Sox are only three years removed from their last World Series championship, while the Cubs are celebrating the 100th anniversary of their last title.

These are historical facts most everyone in Chicago knows by now.

But noted philosopher Mike Ditka once said history is for losers and cowards, and before losing 7-1 to the Cubs for a sweep in the opening round of the City Series, Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said his team's goal is to play at the same high level of its crosstown rival.

"If you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best," Guillen said.

Whether the Cubs are the best team in baseball remains to be seen. But they provided ample evidence this weekend they're the best team in the city—at least for now—by sweeping the Sox in convincing fashion.

Ryan Dempster (9-2) remained perfect at Wrigley Field with eight-plus innings of one-run ball, improving to 9-0 while pitching the Cubs to their 14th straight home win, their longest streak since 1936.

Dempster and the Cubs are traveling in a parallel universe, looking unbeatable at the corner of Clark and Addison Streets. What's the secret to Dempster's success?

"It's Otis' cooking," he said, referring to clubhouse man Tom "Otis" Hellmann. "It's as fine as it gets. It really gets you prepared. We're going to have him start cooking on the road."

The Cubs are definitely cooking at home, moving 41/2 games ahead of the Cardinals in the National League Central with Sunday's win.

The Sox, meanwhile, suffered their ninth consecutive road loss and saw their lead over the Twins sliced to 11/2 games in the AL Central.

In the end, the City Series again lived up to the hype, with emotionally charged crowds, plenty of managerial maneuvering and a few wild moments that will live on in Cubs-Sox history.

"We're trying to win as many ballgames as we can, and we play very well here at Wrigley, as you all know," manager Lou Piniella said. "The White Sox will get a chance over at their home ballpark next weekend."

For the second straight day, Guillen said the Sox had their "butts" handed to them.

"A loss is a loss, no matter who you lost to and what kind of weekend you play," he said. "It's something you don't like to see and do, but they played better than we did."

The Cubs managed seven runs on only eight hits off Sox pitching.

Aramis Ramirez hit his fourth home run in three days, adding to his credentials as a Sox-killer extraordinaire, and Eric Patterson added a two-run homer and scored three runs.

Back-to-back walks by Javier Vazquez (7-6) led to a two-run first, and the Cubs never looked back. Patterson's first major-league homer and a solo shot by Ramirez made it 5-0 in the fifth, and then Dempster did the rest.

He got into jams early and often but induced three double-play grounders and kept his composure throughout the cool summer night.

After a Jim Thome double in the eighth, Piniella eschewed his usual slow walk to the mound for a mini-jog but only to make sure Dempster was OK.

Ted Lilly told Piniella he "moved rather well," to which Piniella replied: "That was my best movement."

After getting out of the inning unscathed, Dempster received a standing ovation as he left the mound, then another after Bob Howry came on to finish it off in the ninth.

"Coming off the field, it's really special," Dempster said. "When you dream of coming to Wrigley Field and being a Cub, that's the kind of feeling you dream about.

"It's amazing, and we just want to keep it going."

psullivan@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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