Chicago at Houston

Scoreboard
Chi. Cubs «0421100008130
Houston000000000010

Cubs' Zambrano allows one hit through eight innings of work

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

HOUSTON -- Normally excitable, Carlos Zambrano was perfectly calm before taking his no-hit bid into the eighth inning Monday night.

In fact, he even said it'd be all right if the Houston Astros broke it up.

A few batters later, they did.

Zambrano held Houston hitless for 7 1/3 innings before Preston Wilson grounded an opposite-field single, leading the Chicago Cubs over the Astros 8-0.

Moments earlier, Zambrano said he told pitching coach Larry Rothschild: "'Whatever happens in this inning, will happen. If somebody gets a base hit, it's OK. I pitched a good game anyway and I didn't let the other team score any runs."'

Zambrano was trying to become the first Cubs pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Milt Pappas on Sept. 2, 1972, against San Diego. There has not been a no-hitter in the majors since Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game for Arizona against Atlanta on May 18, 2004.

Instead, Zambrano beat the Astros with his arm and bat. He homered and drove in four runs, and was in control on the mound.

"This was like a high school game for him," Cubs center fielder Juan Pierre said. "He was the best pitcher and hitter on the field tonight."

Zambrano walked Mike Lamb to start the eighth. An out later, Wilson cleanly singled to right field.

"I made one mistake today and I did pay for it," Zambrano said. "It cost me the no-no."

Wilson was impressed with Zambrano's work.

"You kind of wish that he was a guy that you had on your side for just one night," Wilson said.

But he was relieved to get the hit.

"Nobody wants to get no-hit," he said. "And once it gets past the sixth or seventh inning, everyone is starting to think about it. It is great to get one, but you don't want to be on the side that gets no-hit."

Zambrano then struck out Brad Ausmus and Eric Bruntlett to end the inning. Will Ohman worked a perfect ninth inning.

Zambrano (4-3) threw 72 of his 126 pitches for strikes and struck out eight. He was trying to pitch the eighth no-hitter for the Cubs since 1900 -- four of them came between 1969 and 1972.

With two outs in the seventh, Lance Berkman took Zambrano to a full count before he struck out swinging. Pierre also preserved the no-hitter in the sixth when he sprinted to make the catch on a fly ball to right-center by Ausmus.

Zambrano was perfect until he walked Morgan Ensberg to lead off in the fifth. In his sixth season, Zambrano has allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of his last seven starts.

"He was kind of teasing them with his off-speed stuff and his fastball was moving everywhere," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.

Zambrano was grateful to have such a superb performance after his last start, when he appeared to lose his composure and left after allowing two runs in the sixth inning of a 3-2 loss to Cincinnati.

"I told you guys last time I knew that I'm much better than how I'm pitching right now," he said. "I want to help this team go through everything."

Astros manager Phil Garner said he thought his team's recent slump contributed to Zambrano's outing. Houston has lost five in a row.

"It's probably a combination of us being flat and him being effective, even though he was a little wild," Garner said. "But he made quality pitches when he needed to."

Zambrano also had a great offensive outing. He hit a three-run drive in the second inning for his fifth career home run and third in Houston. Zambrano, who is batting below .100, hit his last homer in August off Roy Oswalt at Minute Maid Park.

He added a sacrifice fly that scored Ronny Cedeno in the fourth for his fourth RBI of the game and the season.

Zambrano said he went to the batting cage on Monday and worked with his hitting coach for the first time this season. But he couldn't really explain his home run success in Houston.

"I like this ballpark," he said with a laugh.

It marked the second time in two days that a pitcher has had four RBI against the Astros after Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo did it on Saturday. Before that a pitcher hadn't achieved the feat in the majors since September 2003.

Michael Barrett and Jacque Jones hit solo homers to left in the third to stretch Chicago's lead to 6-0.

Chicago has hit 81 home runs in Houston's ballpark since it opened in 2000, the most of any opponent.

Astros starter Taylor Buchholz (3-5) was tagged for 11 hits and eight runs in five innings before being replaced by Dave Borkowski.

Notes

  • Cedeno extended his career-high hitting streak to 10 games.
  • Chicago is 3-1 in June after going 7-22 in May.
  • Monday's loss extended Houston's season-high home losing streak to five games.
  • Jones has scored at least one run in each of the Cubs' last six games.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Carlos Zambrano does more than his share on offense by driving in four runs with a homer and a sac fly.  (AP)
Carlos Zambrano does more than his share on offense by driving in four runs with a homer and a sac fly. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

J. Jones
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Chicago

C. Zambrano
IP 8.0
H 1
ER 0
BB 2
K 8
 

Related Video

December 18, 2014
NFL Mock Draft: Which teams might trade up? (3:24)
December 29, 2014
Brown on defeating the Bengals
(0:44)
December 28, 2014
Panthers at Falcons highlights
(0:49)
December 28, 2014
Raiders at Broncos highlights
(0:44)
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF4020100 .246
Tony Womack, 2B5000003 .304
Michael Barrett, C5111011 .301
Todd Walker, 1B4220000 .312
   a- John Mabry, PH-3B1000000 .182
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4021000 .246
   b- Phil Nevin, PH-1B1000010 .213
Jacque Jones, RF4122012 .310
    Matt Murton, LF0000000 .276
Freddie Bynum, LF-RF4110022 .222
Ronny Cedeno, SS4220000 .307
Carlos Zambrano, P3114002 .080
    Will Ohman, P00000001.000
Totals3981381510 
a-grounded out for Walker in the 9th
b-struck out for Ramirez in the 9th
Batting
2B - Aramis Ramirez (11, Buchholz)
3B - Ronny Cedeno (4, Buchholz)
HR - Michael Barrett (7, Buchholz), Jacque Jones (11, Buchholz), Carlos Zambrano (1, Buchholz)
SF - Carlos Zambrano (1)
RBI - Michael Barrett (25), Aramis Ramirez (32), Jacque Jones 2 (32), Carlos Zambrano 4 (4)
2-OUT RBI - Jacque Jones (12), Carlos Zambrano 3 (3)
SB - Juan Pierre 2 (19, 2nd base off Buchholz/Ausmus, 2nd base off Buchholz/Ausmus), Freddie Bynum (4, 2nd base off Buchholz/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Cedeno-Womack-Walker
Chicago Cubs
Carlos Zambrano (W,4-3) 8100280 3.09
Will Ohman 1000000 4.81
WP - Carlos Zambrano (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Zambrano 121-70, Will Ohman 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Zambrano 7-8, Will Ohman 1-2
Batters Faced - Carlos Zambrano 26, Will Ohman 3
Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B3000000 .280
    Jason Lane, CF1000000 .193
Chris Burke, CF-2B4000010 .273
Lance Berkman, RF3000020 .289
Morgan Ensberg, 3B2000110 .263
Mike Lamb, 1B2000101 .341
Preston Wilson, LF3010010 .263
Brad Ausmus, C3000012 .301
Eric Bruntlett, SS3000012 .297
Taylor Buchholz, P1000010 .045
    Dave Borkowski, P1000000 .000
   a- Willy Taveras, PH1000000 .262
Totals27010285 
a-fouled out for Borkowski in the 9th
Houston Astros
Taylor Buchholz (L,3-5) 51188123 6.25
Dave Borkowski 4200030 4.08
WP - Taylor Buchholz (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Taylor Buchholz 96-67, Dave Borkowski 47-32
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Taylor Buchholz 7-6, Dave Borkowski 6-3
Batters Faced - Taylor Buchholz 27, Dave Borkowski 14
Game Information
Attendance - 32814
Game Time - 2:29
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Kerwin Danley, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Tim Welke