Cubs' bullpen fails Canadian pitcher

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster throws a pitch in the first inning against the...

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster throws a pitch in the first inning against the Washington Nationals during their season-opening MLB baseball game in Chicago, Illinois, April 5, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:53 PM ET

CHICAGO - Ryan Dempster deserved a better fate.

The 34-year-old native of Sechelt, B.C., tossed a gem through 7 2/3 innings Thursday against Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals, only to have his bullpen blow it.

On a day when he allowed just two singles, walked three and struck out 10, Dempster left with two outs, a 1-0 lead and a runner on in the eighth. Wood, who walked just 21 batters in 51 innings last year, came out of the bullpen and walked three of the four men he faced.

"I'm always confident handing the ball to Woody," said Dempster, who was making the fourth opening day start of his career and took advantage of a stiff wind blowing in at Wrigley to hold the Nats to a pair of singles.

"(Nationals third baseman) Ryan Zimmerman hit two home runs today that Mother Nature brought back into the ball park," said Dempster. "In a 1-0 game, you realize how quickly things can change."

In the top of the ninth, with Carlos Marmol in the game, Ian Desmond's third hit of the game, a single, drove in pinch-runner Brett Carroll with the decsive run.

Strasburg, whose innings ceiling this season is set at 160, worked seven strong innings, allowing five hits.


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