Z Complete Game Shutout for Zambrano – Cubs 3 Giants 0

Game One Hundred Fifty-Three – Cubs 3 Giants 0
WP – Carlos Zambrano (9-6) LP – Tim Lincecum (14-7) Save – None

wflag.jpgFriday night was all about Carlos Zambrano. In a game that took only one hour and 56 minutes to complete, not only did Zambrano toss the Cubs first nine-inning complete game of the year he drove in two of the Cubs’ three runs. Carlos Zambrano out pitched Tim Lincecum and handed the Giants’ ace his second home loss of the season (9-2).

Big Z found a rhythm early against the offensively challenged San Francisco Giants. Zambrano gave up only two hits, one walk and struck out eight. Zambrano faced just three over the minimum and threw 98 pitches in nine innings, 67 for strikes. Zambrano picked up his ninth career complete game and his fourth complete game shutout … his first since the no-hitter on September 14, 2008.

Carlos Zambrano joined Sean Marshall as the only two pitchers to toss a complete game for the Cubs this season. Marshall picked up the complete game win in a rain-shortened, five-inning victory over the Pirates on May 26.

Friday night was, with a doubt, the best outing of the year by Carlos Zambrano.

The game was scoreless until the sixth inning. Kosuke Fukudome doubled to right on a 2-1 pitch from Tim Lincecum. Ryan Theriot drove in the game’s first run with a single to center just to the right of the second base bag.

The Cubs’ second run scored just an inning later. Bobby Scales led off with a single to right center and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Sam Fuld (3-for-4 with a run scored off of Lincecum and Randy Johnson) reached on a one-out single to left. Scales held at third but scored on a fielder’s choice ground out by Carlos Zambrano. Big Z hit a grounder to the hole at short. Fuld made a good slide at second and Zambrano beat out Velez’s throw to first. Scales scored and gave Zambrano a little breathing room.

The Cubs’ old nemesis, Randy Johnson, took the hill in the ninth. With the Cubs up 2-0 and Big Z in full control, Sam Fuld ripped a two-out single into right. Zambrano followed with a double to left center. John Bowker took a bad angle, the ball got past him and rolled to the wall. Fuld scored easily on Big Z’s double.

The two RBI on Friday night for Zambrano ran his season total to eleven.

A lineup without Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee beat one of the best in the game in his home park. The Cubs have won five of their last six and need two more victories in their final nine games to secure a winning season. It is too bad Lou Piniella’s crew waited a month too long to start playing good baseball this season …

The Chicago Cubs picked up their 80th win of the year behind a dominating performance by Carlos Zambrano. While the Giants have their problems offensively they are fighting to make the post season. Zambrano built on his performance in St. Louis and did not allow the little things to get to him. In the past hits by pitchers and errors by infielders have sent him over the edge … but not on Friday night.

Carlos Zambrano retired the Giants in order in five of the nine innings. Both hits he gave up were lead off singles and all three runners that reached never advanced to second base.

At this point the Chicago Cubs are building for next season. Hopefully Friday night’s game will be looked back as a benchmark for Carlos Zambrano finally taking the next step in his development.

9 …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Tom Gorzelanny will face Barry Zito in the battle of southpaws on Saturday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney