Final in 8

Cubs 2

(10-10, 4-6 away)

Rockies 4

(11-8, 7-4 home)

    4:05 PM ET, March 20, 2007

    Hi Corbett Field, Tucson, Arizona 

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    CHC 200000000 2 - -
    COL 00040000 - 4 - -

    Rockies 4, Cubs 2

    Associated Press

    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Well, at least Ryan Dempster seems to be healthy.

    The Chicago Cubs closer returned to the mound for the first time in a week, pitching an inning Tuesday in the Chicago Cubs' 4-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

    Dempster had been bothered by shoulder spasms, which he described as a knot in the back of his right shoulder after his March 13 appearance against Arizona.

    "I definitely felt good. The ball was coming out good," Dempster said. "We could start opening today, tomorrow, and I would be ready."

    Dempster, who had 24 saves last season, gave up one hit and walked one. He has allowed one run and four hits in five spring training appearances.

    Chicago, facing the possibility of opening the season with Kerry Wood and Mark Prior on the disabled list, started Ted Lilly, who allowed four runs, nine hits and two walks in five innings. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second, then gave up four runs in the fourth.

    Alfonso Soriano hit his third homer for the Cubs, a first-inning leadoff drive against Brian Lawrence.

    Lawrence allowed two runs and seven hits in five innings with two strikeouts and one walk. He is coming off surgery last spring to repair a torn labrum and to clean out his rotator cuff, and is competing with Josh Fogg and Byung-Hyun Kim to become Colorado's fifth starter.

    "I have to prove that I can go deep into a game and not put added stress on our bullpen," Lawrence said. "I feel better than I have in a long time. It is now just a matter of building up innings and then going from there."

    Rockies manager Clint Hurdle designated Jason Hirsh his No. 4 man on Tuesday behind Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis and Rodrigo Lopez.

    "I am starting to get my command. The first couple of outings I was all over the place," Lawrence said. "It is very comforting going out there and knowing you can throw again. After today, I feel like I am in season form as far as going out and competing and getting outs and not worrying about my arm."

    Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez allowed two hits in four shutout innings.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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