Game Fifty-Six – Cubs 8 Astros 0
When Dusty Baker filled out the lineup card for Monday evening in Houston little did he know the most important name he wrote in was the one at the end….Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano had a no-hitter going until Preston Wilson singled to right in the 8th with 1-out and before the walk to Mike Lamb in the 8th, he had only allowed one other base runner on the evening….a walk to Morgan Ensberg in the 5th. Zambrano pitched an unbelievable game, but he also brought the wood to the park as well. Zambrano was 1-3 on the night with a 3-run home run in the 2nd and a sacrifice fly to score Ronny Cedeno in the 4th….Zambrano had 4 RBI’s.
Carlos Zambrano led the Cubs’ offense as they pounded out double-digit hits for the tenth time in the last eleven games. Every starter recorded a hit with the exception of Tony Womack, Ronny Cedeno extended his hit streak to 10 games with a 2-hit night and Aramis Ramirez extended his hit streak to 4 games with a 2-hit night as well. Michael Barrett and Jacque Jones went deep….it was a great night to be in Cubbie Blue. Zambrano dominated the entire game and shutout the Astros….it was the second shutout for the Cubs this season. Zambrano recorded 8 strikeouts, 8 fly ball outs and 8 ground outs on 126 pitches, 72 for strikes….he was just brilliant.
Juan Pierre had a 2 hit game and stole two bases as well and the Cubs beat up the rookie Bucholtz to the tune of 8 runs on 11 hits and the big three home runs in 5 innings. Dave Borkowski came in and only allowed 2 hits over the last 4 innings of the ballgame as Dusty emptied his bench and got several players valuable playing time.
The Cubs scored in the 2nd inning after a lead off single to left by Todd Walker, he advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Aramis Ramirez. With 1-out, Freddie Bynum beat out what should have been a routine grounder to the Astros shortstop Eric Bruntlett. Bynum stole 2nd and Ronny Cedeno grounded into a fielder’s choice that Aramis Ramirez was thrown out at the plate on. The Carlos Zambrano stepped to the plate and on a 1-2 pitch homered to right center field….his 5th career home run. In the 3rd inning the Cubs hit 2 more home runs….one by Michael Barrett and the other by Jacque Jones and added another in the 4th. Ronny Cedeno scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Zambrano after leading off the inning with a triple. And the scoring was complete in the 5th when Jacque Jones singled to right….which should have been a double to score Todd Walker who had led off the inning with a single to center.
This was a big win for the Cubs and a great night for Carlos Zambrano, let’s just hope Kerry Wood can put another “W” on the board on Tuesday night in Houston.