Game Sixty-Two – Cubs 2 Astros 1
WP – Carlos Zambrano (7-5) LP – Woody Williams (2-9) Save – Ryan Dempster (13)
Will the real Carlos Zambrano please stand up? After an inconsistent start to the season, Carlos Zambrano won his second game in a row for the first time this year and gave his bullpen a much-needed night off. Zambrano allowed just one hit in the first 6 innings and gave up a total of 3 hits on the night while walking one and striking out 8. The lone run he allowed was unearned in the 8th inning. Zambrano faced just 4 over the minimum and threw a season high 128 pitches.
Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot, the Bayou Boys, combined for the first run against Woody Williams and Carlos Zambrano helped his own cause with an opposite field home run in the 3rd inning that would end up being the difference in the game that lasted just 2 hours and 5 minutes. Carlos Zambrano continued his dominance of the Astros. He allowed just two base runners until the 7th inning….Zambrano hit Mark Loretta in the 2nd and Brad Ausmus led off the 3rd with a single to right center. Zambrano struck out Carlos Lee and Mark Loretta swinging in the 4th and kept the Astros off the bases until the 7th. Lance Berkman led off the inning with a single to center but was erased when Carlos Lee grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Zambrano did not allow multiple base runners until the 8th inning.
Mike Lamb was issued a 4-pitch walk to lead off the 8th and advanced to 2nd on a single to center by Luke Scott….Felix Pie dove and had the ball in his glove but could not hold on. Brad Ausmus hit a high chopper to Mark DeRosa at 3rd and they tried an around the horn double play, but Mike Fontenot’s throw was to the home plate side of 1st base and Derrek Lee could not make the scoop….Lamb scored on the throwing error, the only run of the game. Orlando Palmeiro pinch hit for Woody Williams and Zambrano struck him out looking and started hopping on the mound while pumping his fist. Craig Biggio stood in with 2 outs and flied out to deep left….Soriano appeared to be touching the ivy, to end the inning. Zambrano celebrated the out by hopping off the field while pumping his fist.
Ryan Dempster pitched the 9th and gave up a 1-out walk to Lance Berkman but Carlos Lee grounded into a 6-3 double play to end the game. Dempster threw 9 pitches, 4 for strikes.
The Cubs offense managed just 4 hits and 2 walks on the night against Woody Williams. Alfonso Soriano continued his slump after being hit by Tim Hudson (0-11) but was robbed of a hit by Lance Berkman in the 8th.
Mike Fontenot continues to be impressive. He was 2-3 on the night with a run scored and since his call-up he is 5-11 with a double, a triple, a home run, 3 runs scored, 3 RBI’s and 11 total bases. Fontenot doubled with 2 outs in the 2nd and scored on a single to right by Ryan Theriot for the first Cubs’ run. The other run on the night came from Carlos Zambrano’s second home run of the season in the 3rd, the home run was Zambrano’s 12th of his career and is now one behind Ferguson Jenkins for the most home runs by a Cubs’ pitcher.
The Astros’ defense made several fine plays on the night. Carlos Lee turned in a very good catch in the 8th. Berkman robbed Soriano on a diving catch in right center and Mike Lamb took a hit away from Jacque Jones and turned it into an unassisted double play in the 6th.
Carlos Zambrano gave his manager and his team exactly what they needed….a win and the Cubs salvaged the last game of a series started almost two months ago.
With the win the Cubs improved their record in 1-run games to 4-13.
The Cubs will welcome the Seattle Mariners to Wrigley Field for the first time on Tuesday night, Rich Hill against Jarrod Washburn and hopefully Hill can cool off the red hot Mariners.