Game One Hundred Forty-Seven – Cubs 5 Astros 0
WP – Carlos Zambrano (14-5) LP – Randy Wolf (10-12) Save – None
In a season that has been full of special moments, Carlos Zambrano not only made a statement on Sunday night at Miller Park but pitched the Cubs’ first no hitter since Milt Pappas in September of 1972 against the San Diego Padres. Other than possibly the Kerry Wood 20-strikeout game more than 10 years ago, the single most dominant performance this writer has ever seen. Not only did Zambrano toss a no hitter; he faced only one over the minimum with just two balls leaving the infield.
Carlos Zambrano had pinpoint control for the first time since he pitched in Milwaukee at the end of July and when he missed, it was not by much. Zambrano struck out 10, walked a batter and hit a batter on 110 pitches. Zambrano joined Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox as the only two pitchers to throw a no hitter this season.
Carlos Zambrano struck out Darin Erstad for the 27th out of the game and was mobbed by his teammates on the mound. Zambrano found his catcher, Geovany Soto, and embraced the rookie that called the no hitter. It was truly an amazing performance by a pitcher that wears his emotions on his sleeve. For all of his struggles over the past six weeks, Zambrano made history in his first outing since September 2nd….Zambrano’s no hitter is the first in the history of Major League Baseball at a neutral site..
Derrek Lee came through with the biggest hit of the night for the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano led off the game with his 28th home run of the season but the Cubs struggles with runners in scoring position of late have been more than concerning. Ronny Cedeno and Carlos Zambrano reached on back-to-back singles to start the 3rd inning. Two outs later and with a 0-2 count, Derrek Lee doubled off the base of the wall in right center. Cedeno and Zambrano scored then Aramis Ramirez lined a hard single off the wall in left. Lee scored and Ramirez advanced to 2nd on a throwing error by Miguel Tejada. Geovany Soto followed with a double to right that plated Ramirez and chased Randy Wolf from the game.
All 4 runs scored in the 3rd inning came with 2 outs.
Sunday night was all about Carlos Zambrano, and rightfully so. With the victory the Cubs improved to 31 games over .500 on the season and increased their lead in the division to 7 1/2 games, 9 in the loss column….the Cubs have won their last three in a row. What a special night. Carlos Zambrano became the 10th Cubs pitcher since 1880 to throw a no hitter (the 7th since 1900) after coming close on many occasions. Zambrano hit the mid to upper 90′s on his fastball and as mentioned displayed pinpoint control. The walk he issued to Michael Bourn could have been a strikeout, all 4 balls were that close.
Carlos Zambrano’s no-no was the first in the history of Miller Park and the first in the NL since Anibal Sanchez pitched a no hitter for the Marlins in 2006.
Lou Piniella mentioned in his post game that they had discussed a 90-pitch limit for Zambrano and he exceeded it by only 20. Zambrano and Geovany Soto mixed his pitches well. Piniella called it a masterpiece and said it was just a great game for his team and especially Zambrano.
Simply a great night for Carlos Zambrano and the Chicago Cubs….and hopefully one that both the team and Zambrano can build on for the remainder of the season.
Milt Pappas on the Carlos Zambrano No-Hitter
Steve Phillips on Zambrano’s No-Hitter
The good performance by the Cubs offense, especially against a pitcher that had just tossed a complete game shutout against them less than 2 weeks ago, will be lost in the dominance and history made by Carlos Zambrano. The offense did their job, chased Randy Wolf and turned the game over to Big Z.
Ted Lilly is scheduled to face Brian Moehler on Monday afternoon in the second game of the series.