Hero: Starlin Castro - the best player the Cubs farm system has produced since perhaps Billy Williams - went 4-for-5 with a double and a clutch two-run single during the Cubs' five-run eighth. It was the fifth career four-hit game for Castro, who is now hitting .393, and his second four-hit effort this season. He has a major league leading 10 multi-hit games in 2011 and leads the majors with 35 hits.
Goat: The Cubs' late rally took Ryan Dempster off the hook, but he turned in his fifth subpar performance in as many starts this season. Dempster's ERA rose from 6.84 to 7.63 after he gave up seven runs - all earned - on nine hits while walking three, striking out three, and allowing home runs to Casey Blake, Matt Kemp, and Rod Barajas. Dempster's last home win came last Aug. 4 and he is 0-5 with two no-decisions in seven Wrigley starts since.
Here's how Demp fared in his previous four 2011 starts:
April 1, vs. Pittsburgh: 6 2/3 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 7 SO, 2 HR
April 4, vs. Arizona: 7 IP, 4 ER, 10 H, 0 BB, 6 SO, 0 HR
April 11, at Houston: 6 1/3 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 9 SO, 2 HR
April 17, at Colorado: 5 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR
Key Play: Mike Quade left Jeff Baker in the game to face right-hander Blake Hawksworth with runners at the corners of an 8-8 game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Baker, who entered the game just 2-for-12 against righties, rewarded his manager's faith with a clutch two-run double to the right-center gap. Baker was 7-for-66 (.105) with one extra-base hit (a double) against righties last year.
Comments: Darwin Barney went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI. His RBI fielder's choice in the eighth tied the game. The 25-year-old Barney, who was called a "non-prospect" by Sports Illustrated a couple of weeks ago, is hitting .323. The second baseman also made a nifty backhand stop that was reminiscient of Ryne Sandberg on a Kemp grounder to the right of second in the ninth. ... The victory gave the Cubs (10-10) the major league record for consecutive stops at the .500 mark to start a season. The Cubs were 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, and 9-9. The only other teams since 1900, to reach every .500 mark every step to 9-9 were the 1915 Boston Red Sox and 1970 New York Yankees. ... I enjoyed seeing chairman Tom Ricketts sitting in the first row next to the home dugout (instead of in the luxury suites) and standing up to cheer during the five-run eighth. Gotta love an owner who behaves like a fan!
Next: Carlos Zambrano (2-0, 4.21 ERA) will put his 10-game winning streak on the line Sunday (CSN/TBS, 1:20 p.m.) when he opposes right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (2-2, 3.33) in the rubber game of a three-game series with the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. Zambrano didn't figure in the decision in either of his two previous starts at the Friendly Confines this season.