Game Nineteen – Cubs 11 Diamondbacks 3
WP – Carlos Zambrano (2-1) LP – Yusmeiro Petit (0-2) Save – None
The Cubs avoided dropping below the .500 mark with a very good win in the desert behind Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano not only pitched a great game but he turned in a great night at the plate. After starting the season 0-for-9, Zambrano was 3-for-4 on Tuesday night that included his first home run of the year, an opposite field shot in the seventh…the 17th of his career, most ever by a Cubs’ pitcher. Zambrano scored three runs and drove in a pair and was just a triple short of the cycle.
On the mound Zambrano survived a very shaky start and pitched seven strong innings. Zambrano fell behind all four batters he faced in the first inning, each with at least three-ball counts. Zambrano walked Chad Tracy on four straight before inducing a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Mark Reynolds to end the inning.
Big Z allowed one run over the first six innings…and his line for the evening, three runs on eight hits in seven innings with two walks and three strikeouts. Zambrano became the seventh pitcher in Cubs history to record 1,200 strikeouts after Chris Young looked at strike three in the second inning.
Alfonso Soriano gave Zambrano a three-run cushion in the third inning with his seventh home run of the year. Soriano’s three-run shot was the first of three home runs on the night for the Cubs offense. Soriano was 2-for-4 with a walk, a home run and four RBI. Mike Fontenot hit his third of the season and second in as many nights in the fourth, a two-run homer to right center with Milton Bradley aboard….and not to be outdone, Carlos Zambrano added his first of the year in the seventh after just missing in the fifth.
The Cubs scored in each inning from the third through the seventh, with multi runs in the third, fourth and fifth. The Cubs showed a lot of patience against Yusmeiro Petit and pounded out 15 hits to go along with six walks on the night.
Koyie Hill, Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley had solid nights at the plate. Hill finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI…and the Cubs improved to 22-9 in games started by Hill dating back to 2007. Fukudome reached base in all four trips to the plate with a single and three walks. In his return to the starting lineup, Bradley recorded hard hit singles from both sides and added a walk in five at bats.
The offense turned it up on Tuesday night against a pitcher in a park they have struggled against in the past. The Cubs won their tenth game of the season and improved to 15-28 at Chase Field during the regular season. After flying out to the wall three times in the first two innings, the Cubs finally connected off Yusmeiro Petit in the third inning. Aaron Miles started the inning with the Cubs’ first hit, a single to center. Zambrano followed with his first hit of the year, a single to left and set the stage for Alfonso Soriano.
Soriano just missed a leadoff homer in the first, but did not miss another one in the third. He ripped a 0-1 pitch from Petit over the wall in left.
Ryan Theriot walked after starting 0-2 and advanced to second on a single by Kosuke. Micah Hoffpauir grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning….but the three runs supplied by Soriano would be all Zambrano needed on the night.
The Cubs sent ten to the plate in the four-run fourth. Milton Bradley led off with his second hit of the year, a single to right. Mike Fontenot stepped in and lined a 0-1 pitch from Petit over the wall in right center near the pool…5-0 Cubs.
Koyie Hill, who keeps on hitting, singled to right on a 1-2 pitch and advanced to second on a ground out to the right side by Aaron Miles, a productive out. Zambrano grounded out to second, Hill advanced to third with two outs. Petit pitched around Soriano and walked him.
With runners on first and third with two outs, Ryan Theriot singled to right. Hill scored, 6-0 Cubs. Bob Melvin replaced Petit with Jon Rauch and he walked Kosuke Fukudome to load the bases. After just missing a grand slam, Micah Hoffpauir lined a single into right that plated Soriano with the Cubs seventh run…Bradley grounded out to second to end the inning.
After Zambrano gave up two run scoring doubles in the bottom of the fourth, Big Z got the run back in the fifth and Soriano added one for good measure.
Koyie Hill reached on a broken bat single to left center and scored on a two-out double off the top of the wall in right center by Zambrano…he missed a home run by inches. With Zambrano on second, Alfonso Soriano singled him in for the Cubs ninth run.
Koyie Hill drove in Micah Hoffpauir in the sixth with a single to left, 10-1 Cubs…and Zambrano completed the scoring with his solo shot to left in the seventh.
Angel Guzman pitched two scoreless frames to complete the win. Guzman gave up two hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
The Cubs offense and Big Z put together a great night…now it’s time to put back-to-back wins on the board.
Ryan Dempster will go for the series win on Wednesday afternoon against Doug Davis. The Cubs have not won on consecutive days since the back-to-back dramatic wins against the Cardinals April 17-18. A win on Wednesday would be a great way to enjoy the long trip home before opening a four-game series against the Florida Marlins on Thursday.