Bulls

Despite run support, Dempster still can't get a win

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Despite run support, Dempster still can't get a win

ST. LOUIS -- Alfonso Soriano singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Chicago Cubs sent the St. Louis Cardinals to their fourth straight loss at home with a 6-4 victory on Monday night.Bryan LaHair had three hits for the Cubs, including a two-run homer - his ninth overall and fourth against the Cardinals - to break a 1-for-14 slump. Chicago's runs in the 8th and 9th innings came too late to make a winner of starter Ryan Dempster, whose winless streak reached 15 starts dating to last August.Shawn Camp (2-1) allowed one hit in two innings of work and Rafael Dolis worked the ninth for his fourth save in six chances for the Cubs, who won for only the fourth time in their last 13 games in St. Louis despite stranding a season-worst 14 runners.Jake Westbrook became the latest Cardinals starter who couldn't pitch deep into the game, allowing four runs on 11 hits in five innings. Of the other four pitchers during this run through the St. Louis rotation, only rookie Lance Lynn lasted six innings.Dempster gave up four hits over the first five innings before surrendering four runs on five hits in the sixth that tied it 4-4. Three of Dempster's first five innings were perfect and he retired 10 of 11 batters from the second to the fifth inning - totaling just 27 pitches.Soriano's go-ahead RBI single off Mitchell Boggs (0-1) salvaged the Cubs' eighth after the Cardinals turned an unusual 3-5-4 double play earlier in the inning. First baseman Lance Berkman fielded Starlin Castro's popped-up bunt and threw to third to force David DeJesus, then David Freese's relay to first was there in plenty of time to get Castro.The Cubs still had Tony Campana on second, and after La Hair was intentionally walked, Soriano's first hit in 10 career at-bats against Boggs - seven of them strikeouts - gave them the lead.Freese's wild throw to first in a bid for a double play on another bunt allowed an insurance run to score in the ninth against Boggs. The Cardinals committed a season-high three errors, two in the ninth.Dempster entered with a majors-best 1.02 ERA, the lowest for a Cubs pitcher winless through the first five starts since the NL began tracking earned runs in 1912. He is 0-1 mainly because the Cubs have totaled just eight runs combined in his starts. The Cardinals got to Dempster after the Cubs' four-run sixth, and the right-hander exited with a 1.74 ERA.LaHair's two-run homer was the highlight of the Cubs' four-run fifth, and he added a pair of singles and his first career steal in the seventh.Molina's two-run double and Skip Schumaker's tying RBI single were the key hits in the Cardinals' four-run sixth. Schumaker is a career .431 hitter against Dempster, the best ever against the right-hander with a minimum of 30 at-bats, according to STATS LLC.

One of the early hits in the rally was Matt Holliday's liner off the left-field wall that gave Soriano a perfect rebound to hold him to a single.Both teams had a three-hit inning without scoring early. The Cardinals loaded the bases in the second, the last two infield hits, before Westbrook struck out for the third out. The Cubs topped that in the third, getting three hits plus a walk that added up to zilch because David DeJesus was an easy out trying to steal after a leadoff hit and Ian Stewart struck out on a pitch near the dirt on a full count for the third out.NOTES: The Cardinals' Carlos Beltran, who entered with six homers in six games and a NL-leading 13, did not start due to knee soreness. He's 6 for 12 against Dempster with a homer and three RBIs. ... The three-hit game was LaHair's third of the season, matching his career best. He has reached base safely in 31 consecutive games and is 8 for 19 with eight RBIs against the Cardinals. ... The Cubs have scored three or fewer runs when Dempster was in the game 13 times during his winless drought.Box scoreCopyright2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Zach LaVine is “tired of people talking sh*t about my defense” and working towards becoming an NBA All-Star

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USA Today

Zach LaVine is “tired of people talking sh*t about my defense” and working towards becoming an NBA All-Star

Zach LaVine is fed up with being underestimated and he’s going to do something about it. The Bulls guard has been having a strong pre-season so far but is looking to improve his skills as a two-way player.

“I’m just tired of people talking shit about my defense,” LaVine said. “I’ve always been a good on-ball defender. But there’s no reason I can be this good offensively and not be that on the defensive end.”

“I’m taking more pride in it,” he continued. “I’m pretty sure it’ll show. I’ll make sure of that.”

If you think LaVine sounds confident, he has good reason to be. Last season LaVine was one of only ten players to average at least 23 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, making him stand out as an elite player in the company of MVPs and All-Stars. LaVine’s personal triumphs, however, were overshadowed by the Bulls abysmal 22-60 record last season.

So far, this preseason LaVine has been looking better on defense, averaging 1.3 steals per game through three preseason games. Any improvements on defense will greatly help LaVine’s All-Star case.

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Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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