Carlos Zambrano continues his hot streak. Before tonight’s contest, he had a 4-0, 1.98 ERA record since his return to the rotation after going through an anger management program in June.
He had another stellar performance tonight, pitching deep into the ninth to blank the Brewers and limit them to three hits and three walks to give the Cubs a 4-0 victory in a three-game series opener in Miller Park.
He contributed offensively; hitting three singles and producing a Cubs’ run in the sixth inning.
The right-hander (8-6) got into trouble in the second inning allowing back-to-back walks to lead-off Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee. But the Cubs got out of the inning without any damage; Chris Dickerson lined out back to the pitcher and Alcides Escobar grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Cubs scored their first two runs of the game in the third inning. Blake DeWitt led off with a strikeout. Darwin Barney followed with a single off David Bush (7-12) and Zambrano helped himself with another single.
Kosuke Fukudome drove the ball towards second base and was safe on Rickie Weeks’ throwing error. Barney scored on the play. Zambrano moved to third and Fukudome reached second.
Starlin Castro hit a sacrifice fly to left field that tallied Zambrano.
The Cubs missed the chance to add more runs in the fourth by stranding two runners. After Micah Hoffpauir and Geovany Soto were retired by strikeouts, Alfonso Soriano and Blake DeWitt walked back-to-back. But Darwin Barney lined out to right field to end the threat.
The Cubs put themselves three runs ahead of the Brewers in the fifth. A two-out walk to DeWitt became vital for Dave Bush and the Brewers. Zambrano followed Barney’s base hit with a line-drive RBI single to score DeWitt. Bush got pulled out after the run and was replaced by reliever Brandon Kintzler.
Bush finished the night giving up three runs (two earned) with five hits in 5.2 innings. He struck out six and walked three.
The Brewers’ two-error woe cost them another run in the eighth. Kameron Loe easily retired Soriano and DeWitt; but his off-line throwing error made Barney safe at second. Zambrano singled to shortstop Alcides Escobar who made another error that scored Barney.
Zambrano almost got his first shutout of the season, but his teammate Castro’s two-out error in the ninth broke the hope.
The Brewers rallied in the ninth. With two out, Ryan Braun singled to left field. He moved to second on defensive indifference. Prince Fielder hit a routine grounder to shortstop, but Castro’s fielding error by shortstop Castro enabled Fielder to reach first and Braun third.
Manager Mike Quade decided to take the ball from Zambrano and handed it to their closer Carlos Marmol.
Marmol only needed one pitch to fly out Casey McGehee for his 29th save of the season.
Note: Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez missed his fourth game in a row because of his sore right quad injury.
This article is also featured on www.sportshaze.com.