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The snake-bitten Dempster hasn't won since last August. He was victimized by Kerry Wood's struggles on opening day and a couple of early-season meltdowns by closer Carlos Marmol. He also drew precious little run support from the Cubs' hitters. It wasn't until May that they scored even three runs in a game he started. He entered today's game at Wrigley Field 0-3, but fourth in the National League in earned run average at 2.14. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the lowest for any pitcher winless over his first eight starts of the season since ERA became an official statistic in 1912.
Dempster, however, had no excuses Wednesday at Wrigley against the San Diego Padres—not even the wind, which after blowing out for two days turned in off the lake. He nonetheless managed to give up six runs in four and a third innings on three two-run homers, two of them off the bat of former White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin, who rifled a Dempster fastball into the center-field seats in the third with a man on, then another off his own face on the new right-field scoreboard in the fifth.
Dempster left trailing 6-3. The Cubs rallied to deprive him of the loss, and won it in the ninth 8-6 on a walk-off two-run homer of their own by the unlikely Darwin Barney to give them a series sweep and their first three-game winning streak of the year.
Yet, along the way, Dempster's ERA fell from the league leaders to 2.90—no longer worthy of note to the Elias Sports record keepers.