Ryan Dempster's perfect season at Wrigley Field came to an abrupt end Sunday in a 4-2 loss to San Francisco, leaving him with a 10-1 record at home.
Giants ace Tim Lincecum outpitched Dempster with eight strong innings, allowing one run on six hits while striking out nine.
The Cubs finished the first half with a 41/2-game lead over second-place St. Louis and were tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the best record in the majors at 57-38.
Lincecum (11-2) dominated from the outset, and a key misplay by Mark DeRosa in right field opened the door to a three-run third that gave San Francisco the lead for good. With a runner on second and one out, Lincecum hit a sinking liner to right that eluded DeRosa as he attempted a shoe-top catch. The ball rolled to the warning track and Lincecum was credited with an RBI triple.
After a walk to Fred Lewis and a popout, Ray Durham drilled a 95-m.p.h. fastball into right for a two-run single, making it 3-0.
"Dempster pitched well," DeRosa said. "I put him in a tough spot. Misplaying that ball in the outfield led to them scoring three runs, and when you get a three-run lead with that guy (Lincecum) out there, it's tough to rally."
With the Cubs trailing 4-1 in the eighth, Aramis Ramirez ended a potential rally with a double-play grounder. Geovany Soto's pinch RBI single off Brian Wilson made it 4-2 in the ninth, but Wilson caught Daryle Ward looking for the second out, and Ryan Theriot grounded out to end the game.
Dempster (10-4) was disappointed with the result, but he took solace in his overall performance in the first half.
"It's tough to sit there and feel good about your first half when you just lost a game," he said.
"It would've been nice to win that game and get a sweep and go into the All-Star break with a win. But as a team, as a unit, we should be really proud of ourselves for what we did in the first half and build off that."
Giants 4, Cubs 2
Dempster loses first at Wrigley this season
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