NEW YORK — Ryan Dempster, the subject of trade rumors, extended his scoreless innings streak by five, to 27, in his first start in three weeks to help the Cubs beat the Mets 7-0 on Sunday.
"I don't really notice a lot of the rumors," Dempster said. "I just handle what I can handle. And that's going out there and pitching and doing my job. Wherever the cards fall, they fall."
Dempster, whose streak is the Cubs' longest since Ken Holtzman's 27 in 1971, had been out since June 15 with a tight muscle in his back. Last week, manager Dale Sveum said he would limit him to 70-80 pitches. He ended up throwing 63.
Dempster's streak almost ended twice. He allowed a one-out triple to Scott Hairston in the second but got a lineout and groundout. He allowed two singles to start the third but got two popouts and a strikeout. Dempster retired his final nine batters.
"He was way more efficient than we thought," Sveum said. "Everything went well.
"He feels great."
Before Dempster even threw a pitch, five of the first six Cubs reached. Three scored against Jonathon Niese, who had given up four or more runs only five times among 16 starts.