NEW YORK -

Ryan Dempster extended his scoreless innings streak to 27 in his first start in three weeks, Starlin Castro hit a three-run homer, and the Chicago Cubs beat the New York Mets 7-0 Sunday.

Dempster (4-3) was activated from the disabled list then pitched five innings of four-hit ball in his first outing since June 15, when he experienced tightness in a back muscle. His lengthy string of zeros is the Cubs' best for a starter since Ken Holtzman went 27 innings in 1971.

The Cubs made it as comfortable as possible for Dempster, scoring four runs before he even threw a pitch.

Alfonso Soriano had an RBI single, Jeff Baker a run-scoring double, and Geovany Soto drove in two runs with a single against Jonathon Niese (7-4).