Cubs Win Z Thriller in San Diego – Cubs 1 Padres 0

Game One Hundred Fifty-Six – Cubs 1 Padres 0
WP – Carlos Zambrano (10-6) LP – Tim Stauffer (5-5) Save – Carlos Marmol (35)

wflag.jpgWhile the Bears were busy beating the Packers, Carlos Zambrano treated his mother to an excellent game in San Diego. Z’s mom got to see her son’s first big league game Monday night and it was another gem.

Zambrano posted his tenth win of the season and improved to 7-0 since returning to the rotation. Zambrano was shaky at the start … two outstanding plays by Xavier Nady bailed him out of early trouble. But once Z found a rhythm in the third, he dominated until the seventh inning.

Zambrano allowed only three hits, and not one after the third inning. The Padres could not figure out Zambrano or Sean Marshall and did not manage a hit until an infield single by Yorvit Torrealba in the ninth.

Zambrano walked four, two in the seventh and struck out five in seven excellent innings.

With his five strikeouts on Monday night, Carlos Zambrano passed Charlie Root for second place on the Cubs All-Time strikeout list. Z has totaled 1436 in his colorful career. Z passed Root in the fourth inning when he struck out Yorvit Torrealba looking to end the inning.

The difference in Monday’s game came down to two hits in the seventh inning. Alfonso Soriano notched the game’s first extra base hit, a one-out double to left, and scored on a hard single to center by Blake DeWitt.

The Cubs recorded the only three extra base hits of the game and scored one run on seven hits with three walks … 1-for-7 with RISP and left eight on base.

Q’s pitching staff allowed only four hits to the Padres, not a single extra base hit, and kept the Padres off the board (0-for-4 with RISP, nine left on base) but it was not easy in the ninth.

Carlos Marmol became only the sixth reliever in Cubs history to make his 300th appearance out of the pen. Marmol gave up a two-out infield single to Yorvit Torrealba then “hitChase Headley. Replays showed the ball never hit Headley, plus he made no attempt to get out of the way of the pitch. Marmol ended up walking Tony Gwynn, Jr. to load the bases but was able to retire Nick Hundley on a fly out to left to end the game.

The Cubs posted their seventh straight road win on Monday night and improved to 20-11 under Mike Quade with their first victory of Twenty-Ten over the San Diego Padres. With six left to play, the Cubs record stands at 71-85 …

Carlos Zambrano pitched his way to his tenth win on Monday night. For the most part he had very good command and dropped in a very impressive mid 60s curveball when he needed it. As Pat Hughes said after the game, Zambrano has really pitched like an ace since his return to the rotation.

Marlon Byrd had a good night at the plate, while showing off his black eye from foul ball on Friday. Byrd played a solid center and finished the game 3-for-4 with a double … his 39th two-bagger of the season. Byrd has been one of the few positives for this year’s club.

Xavier Nady continued his impressive play at first base on Monday night. While his offense has been less than desirable, Nady’s defense at first has been one of the surprises since Mike Quade took over.

The Cubs had managed only three hits in six innings against Tim Stauffer. Of the first 19 outs the Padres starter recorded, 10 were groundball outs. The Cubs simply could not get anything out of the infield.

The Padres right-hander took the hill for the first time in the seventh inning all season … and it ended up costing the Padres. Alfonso Soriano ripped a 1-0 pitch to the corner in left for a double … the first extra base hit of the game.

Blake DeWitt followed with a hard single to center on a 0-1 offering. Tony Gwynn, Jr. threw home, Soriano scored easily and DeWitt advanced to second on the ill-advised throw to the plate.

But Koyie Hill and Carlos Zambrano could not drive in DeWitt … and the game remained 1-0 Cubs.

Carlos Zambrano had put together a very good outing, until the bottom of the seventh. The Cubs offense finally gave him a lead and Z lost his command in the seventh … but wiggled his way out of it.

Matt Stairs walked on four pitches to start the inning. Chris Denorfia ran for him and Bud Black called for a hit and run on the first pitch to Yorvit Torrealba. The Padres catcher made enough contact to dribble a ball to Castro up the middle. Denorfia made it to second without a problem as Castro threw out Torrealba at first.

Zambrano issued his second four-pitch walk of the inning to Chase Headley. With runners on first and second with one-out, Tony Gwynn, Jr. flied out to center on a 3-1 pitch. Oscar Salazar hit for Tim Stauffer and fouled out to Xavier Nady to end the inning.

Zambrano’s final line: no runs on three hits with four walks and five strikeouts in seven innings, 106 pitches … 59 for strikes.

Sean Marshall took over in the eighth … and struck out two of the three batters he faced, including Adrian Gonzalez on a check swing to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol picked up the save after a shaky ninth. Yorvit Torrealba reached on an infield single up the middle. DeWitt tried to make a play on a ball that Castro should have handled. The ball took DeWitt toward third and he could not get anything on his throw … Castro was right there and would have thrown out the Padres’ catcher. Torrealba dove head first for the bag and was safe.

After Marmol supposedly hit Chase Headley, he walked Tony Gwynn, Jr. to load the bases … but Nick Hundley flied out to right to end the game.

Nothing will ever make up for 1984, but every win the Cubs get during this series will make it harder for the Padres to make the post season this year.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster will face Mat Latos in game two Tuesday night.

Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein