PEORIA—Ryan Dempster put a little regular-season pressure on himself: bases loaded, no outs.Then came a dominant sequence the Cubs hope their No. 2 starter duplicates when the games get real beginning next week.Dempster struck out three consecutive Mariners with the bases full to end his seven shutout innings. He struck out nine in all and allowed just four hits in a 1-0 victory over Seattle on an unusual, shutdown Sunday in the homer-happy desert.For everyone with early dinner plans. The game lasted an hour and 59 minutes, more rare than rainouts in the Cactus League, thanks to Dempster and Seattle starter Ryan Rowland-Smith. Dempster sure looked ready for the season to get here. He continually fired low fastballs into the strike zone and worked with a quick, almost ruthless pace. His strikeouts were the most by a Cub this spring. He has 15 strikeouts in 12 1-3 innings of his last two spring starts.Two of the hits against the right-hander who has won 28 games over the last two seasons, began the seventh, sandwiched around a walk to Ken Griffey Jr. Dempster struck out minor-leaguer Mario Martinez – who was batting because Franklin Gutierrez’s stomach felt ill – then Mariners backup infielder candidate Matt Tuiasosopo and co-starting catcher Adam Moore.The final strike, a high fastball, seemed to stun Moore. Dempster yelled into his glove before teammates and coaches high-fived him at the top step of the dugout. The scene looked more April or August than March.He was 4-0 with a 3.16 ERA in April on his way to 17 wins and an All-Star game in his career-best 2008. But he was just 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in the season’s first month last year.Xavier Nady was 0 for 3 while starting his first game in the outfield since last April, following Tommy John surgery in his elbow. The former Yankee had only one fielding play: he cautiously threw a double by Casey Kotchman back into the infield in the first.Tyler Colvin, the 13th overall pick in the 2006 draft who debuted with Chicago over six games last season, got another hit minutes after manager Lou Piniella said the 24-year-old has won a backup outfielder job.Colvin, who got a chance this month with Nady rehabilitating, entered Sunday second in the Cactus League with a .475 batting average.Piniella was told Colvin is waiting until he is on the team plane to Atlanta for opening day next week before believing he has a job.
NOTES—Milton Bradley did not play for Seattle and also refused to speak with the Chicago media,telling them that they “drove him out of Chicago”, then he added “Peace!”….Jeff Baker doubled leading off the sixth, moved to third on a single by Ryan Theriot and scored the only run on a sacrifice fly by DH Kosuke Fukudome. … Piniella said that the last bench job is all that he must settle in camp’s final week. Candidates include IFs Kevin Millar and Chad Tracy.