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Cubs
0 - 6 Final
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Zambrano stays hot, shuts down Astros

Jul 13, 2007 - 11:05 PM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Carlos Zambrano was too much for the Houston Astros.

The righthander pitched 6 2/3 strong innings and added two hits and drove in a run on Friday to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 6-0 victory over the Astros in the opener of a three-game series.

Houston has now lost four of its last six games.

"Anytime your No. 1 starter picks it up like he has, it gives you a big lift as a team," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.

Zambrano (11-7) allowed three hits and three walks while striking out seven. The 26-year-old now has won six of his last eight starts, posting 63 strikeouts in 58 innings over that span.

"I think I've pitched better since I said in early June that I needed to pick it up," Zambrano said. "I have my confidence back, all my pitches are working. I've been able to throw more strikes and be more aggressive with my pitches."

The Astros loaded the bases off Zambrano on a single by Carlos Lee and two walks in the top of the seventh inning. However, righthander Carlos Marmol relieved Zambrano and got Eric Munson to fly to center, ending the inning.

Marmol retired all four batters he faced, and Bobby Howry pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the game.

The Cubs touched Astros starter Jason Jennings (1-5) for three runs in the fourth inning. Cliff Floyd led off with a single to center, then moved to third on a single by Mark DeRosa.

"I didn't have my real good command today," Jennings said. "They fouled off a lot of pitches that cost me later on in the game. Obviously as a team, we didn't have it together today."

Jacque Jones scored Floyd with a sacrifice fly, then catcher Geovany Soto reached on a throwing error by Houston third baseman Mike Lamb, allowing DeRosa to score. On the play, Soto moved to third base on a throwing error by first baseman Lance Berkman, then scored on a single to left by Zambrano to make it 3-0.

The Astros finished with four errors, including a pair by shortstop Mark Loretta.

"We're going to have some games like that," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "I guarantee you we're not going to play that way most of the time. If we're going to play winning baseball, you have to stay away from games like this."

Zambrano led off the the sixth with a single off Jennings, then later scored the fourth run for Chicago on a bases-loaded walk by Aramis Ramirez off Houston reliever Chad Qualls.

Jennings remained winless over his last four starts. The righthander pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs - three earned - and 10 hits and a walk. He also struck out seven.

The Cubs made it 6-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning with a two-run double by Derrek Lee off Houston righthander Matt Albers.

"The biggest key for any team is scoring runs," said Lee. "It doesn't matter if you do it with a single, double or home run. And it's nice to see that we're getting the job done without the use of the home run."

In his first action since being activated from the 15-day disabled list, Houston righthander Brad Lidge pitched a scoreless seventh inning, striking out a pair.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 4
    CHICAGO CUBS 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 2 x 6 12 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: HOU - JASON JENNINGS, CHAD QUALLS (6TH), BRAD LIDGE (7TH), MATT
    ALBERS (8TH), TREVER MILLER (8TH) AND ERIC MUNSON
    CHN - CARLOS ZAMBRANO, CARLOS MARMOL (7TH), BOBBY

    Jul 13 5:15 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY DERREK LEE SCORED ALFONSO SORIANO AND RYAN
    THERIOT.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, D LEE ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 6 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A RAMIREZ (.309, 0-FOR-3, BB, RBI)

    Astros vs. CubsJul 13 5:13 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO ARAMIS RAMIREZ SCORED CARLOS ZAMBRANO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A RAMIREZ ON FIRST, D LEE ON SECOND, A
    SORIANO ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 4 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: C FLOYD (.299, 2-FOR-3)

    Astros vs. CubsJul 13 4:17 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS ZAMBRANO SCORED GEOVANY SOTO.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, C ZAMBRANO ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 3 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A SORIANO (.307, 0-FOR-2)

    Astros vs. CubsJul 13 3:28 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY LANCE BERKMAN ALLOWED MARK DEROSA TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, G SOTO ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: C ZAMBRANO (.233, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros vs. CubsJul 13 3:26 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY JACQUE JONES SCORED CLIFF FLOYD.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M DEROSA ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: G SOTO (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros vs. CubsJul 13 3:22 PM