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Clement inspired in 3-hit shutout
Cubs manager Bruce Kimm planned to remove Matt Clement when he visited the mound in the ninth inning of Saturday's game. But Kimm quickly realized he would have had to pry the ball from Clement's right hand.
"I'm not a psychologist," Kimm said, "and I don't know if it always works. But when I looked at him, I knew there was no way he wanted out of that game. He had some fire in his eyes. He said, 'Give me at least one more guy.'
"I don't know if it was the adrenaline or what, but he really wanted it."
Adrenaline is one way of explaining it. Inspiration is another.
"He did this for his dad," Cubs catcher Joe Girardi said after Clement fired his second career shutout in a three-hit 4-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Clement spent much of the last three days by the side of his father, Paul, who underwent quintuple bypass surgery Thursday in Pittsburgh.
On Wednesday, Clement flew to Chicago to pick up his wife, Heather, who is seven months pregnant. Then they drove to Pittsburgh.
Surgery was successful, but Clement didn't decide until Friday that he would fly to Phoenix to make his start.
"My wife and I talked about it and I talked a lot with Joe Girardi," he said. "If I could see that [Paul Clement] was stable and didn't have a tube down his throat, then I was going to come.
"He was out of intensive care [Friday], so I got to visit with him for the whole afternoon. He was sitting up. Then my wife ran me to the airport."
Clement, who didn't get much sleep before his start, didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning, when Alex Cintron ripped a one-hopper past Chris Stynes at third base. Clement struck out just five and walked five but gutted out the 125-pitch victory.
As usual, Clement credited Girardi.
"I didn't shake off one time," Clement said. "A couple of times I thought about it but said, 'I'm going to keep going.'
He knew more than I did. And there were some great plays behind me."
Clement's achievement took on added significance given the venue.
The defending world champion Diamondbacks had won 25 of their last 30 games and had dominated the Cubs at Bank One Ballpark, winning 13 of their last 14.
The Diamondbacks, shut out for just the second time this season, knew this was no fluke.
Said catcher Damian Miller of Clement: "He has the best right-handed slider in the National League."
Clement celebrated by calling his father, who had not been able to watch the game because it was not nationally televised.
"Hopefully this brings him a little extra energy," Clement said.