- Associated Press - Thursday, July 8, 2010

PHOENIX (AP) - Aramis Ramirez hit a three-run homer, Ryan Dempster labored through five innings and the Chicago Cubs earned their first three-game sweep at Chase Field with an 8-3 win over the free-swinging Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.

Outscored 35-12 in a recent seven-game homestand, the Cubs heated up in Chase Field’s air conditioning, scoring 23 runs to notch their first three-game sweep at Arizona’s spacious stadium in 16 series all-time.

Starlin Castro had a two-run single as Chicago roughed up Edwin Jackson (6-7) early and Ramirez put it out of reach in the ninth, hitting his third homer in two games off Chad Qualls.

Arizona continued its whiff-a-palooza, hitting 10-plus strikeouts for the fifth straight game to match a team record.

The 10 Ks against the Cubs gives the Diamondbacks 69 in six games under interim manager Kirk Gibson _ five losses _ and 793 on the season as they swing and miss toward the all-time record.

Dempster (7-7) struck out six, but gave up three runs on eight hits in failing to reach the sixth inning for just the second time in 18 starts.

He was still better than Jackson.

Two starts removed from the second no-hitter in Diamondbacks’ history, Jackson was sharp early, holding Chicago without a hit until Derrek Lee led off the fourth with a single to left.

Once the Cubs got one hit off Jackson, they kept going.

Marlon Byrd knocked in Lee with a double, then Alfonso Soriano drove him in with a single. Dempster helped himself out in the inning, too, pushing a bunt toward first for a fielder’s choice that scored another run and put the Cubs up 3-0.

He just couldn’t hold it in the bottom half.

After working around three singles in the second inning and two baserunners in the third, Dempster gave up three runs in the fourth on Jackson’s flare single to center and Chris Young’s broken-bat, two-run single just over the head of Ramirez at third.

Didn’t matter.

The Cubs continued to knock around Jackson in the fifth inning, going up 5-3 on a two-run single by Castro that left him so irritated the right-hander didn’t see the ball bound off the backstop on left fielder Gerardo Parra’s throwing error.

Jackson didn’t come out for the sixth inning after giving up five runs on six hits for his first loss since May 28.

The Diamondbacks went out with a whimper after Dempster left, unable to get a runner into scoring position against four relievers over the final four innings.

NOTES: Soriano was 0 for 2 in career game No. 1,400 and left in the bottom of the fifth inning after being hit by a pitch on the left elbow in the top half. … Arizona previously struck out 10 times or more in five straight games from April 29-May 3 earlier this season. … Cubs manager Lou Piniella said he expects right-hander Carlos Silva to be ready for his next start after injuring his right calf against Arizona Tuesday night.

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