Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster delivers during the second inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh Wednesday, July 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
If Ryan Dempster did indeed make his final start for the Chicago Cubs, he left a lasting impression.
Pulled for a pinch hitter by manager Dale Sveum in the seventh inning Wednesday, Dempster threw a water cooler in the dugout as the Cubs went on to a 3-2 defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"I have a lot of respect for our manager, but I don't always have to agree with every move he makes," Dempster said. "I'm allowed to be upset, but I was over it as soon as I got to the clubhouse."
Dempster has had a lot on his mind this week. He is mulling whether to accept a trade to Atlanta and said he also is "keeping all my options open."
Chicago is off Thursday, and Dempster said he'll spend part of the day thinking about his situation. He has the right to veto any trade as a 10-and-5 player — he has at least 10 years of major league service time, including at least five with his current team.
The deadline for trades without waivers is Tuesday.
"I'm definitely going to think about Atlanta," Dempster said. "I know (Braves GM) Frank Wren from my days in Florida when he was the assistant GM there. I have a lot of respect for (manager) Fredi Gonzalez. I don't know what I'm going to do. I have a few days to think about it before the trading deadline."
Dempster (5-5) allowed three runs and five hits in six innings with six strikeouts and no walks.
His ERA, which had been a major league-leading 2.11, rose to 2.25.
"I thought he pitched really well, but he had a long top of the sixth inning, and down by a run, we needed to get the leadoff man on base, which why I pinch hit," Sveum said.
Kevin Correia (8-6) won his career-best fifth straight start. Yet it might not be enough to keep him in the Pirates' crowded starting rotation.
Correia gave up two runs and four hits in six innings, helping Pittsburgh avoid getting swept at home from the first time since Sept. 9-11 against the Marlins.
Garrett Jones drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out double in the sixth inning. Walker and Michael McKenry homered for Pittsburgh.
Despite his winning streak, Correia has a 4.82 ERA in his last five starts and is a candidate to be moved to the bullpen following the acquisition of left-hander Wandy Rodriguez from Houston on Tuesday. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said before the game that he might also consider going to a six-man rotation, at least temporarily.
"We acquired a very good pitcher who is going to help us," Correia said. "Somebody is going to have to come out of the rotation. I thought about it a lot last night but it wasn't on my mind when I took the mound. I just tried to do the best I could to help the team win and the decisions about the rotation are out of my hands."
Relievers Jared Hughes, Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan followed Correia with one scoreless inning each. Hanrahan recorded his 29th save in 32 chances.
"That back end of the bullpen is as good as it gets," Sveum said.
The Pirates pulled ahead 3-2 in the sixth inning when Jones lined a double that scored Alex Presley, who singled with one out and took third on Andrew McCutchen's single.
"That was a good piece of hitting by Jones because I threw a pitch that was really down and he went down and got it," Dempster said.
Both teams hit solo home runs in the first. Anthony Rizzo connected for his fifth with two outs for Chicago and Walker countered with his ninth in the bottom half.
The Cubs went back ahead in the fourth as Rizzo singled in David DeJesus, who had doubled, with two outs. The umpires upheld their ruling on DeJesus' double after a video review showed a fan had touched the ball before it went over the center-field fence.
Pittsburgh tied the score when McKenry hit a two-out solo homer off the left-field foul pole in the sixth. Dempster retired 13 batters in a row between the home runs by Walker and McKenry.
"We're a very resilient team," McKenry said. "Dempster was pitching great but we found a way to come back and beat him. It was a really good win for us."