LOS ANGELES -- Carlos Zambrano was in position to win his eighth straight decision when the Los Angeles Dodgers capitalized on a few defensive mishaps by the Chicago Cubs in a five-run seventh inning.
After Matt Kemp hit a three-run homer to cap the big rally in the Dodgers' 7-3 victory Saturday, Zambrano was yanked by manager Lou Piniella and began thrashing around in the dugout -- angry at himself for throwing the fateful pitch to Kemp.
"I missed it," said Piniella, who has thrown a few tantrums himself at times. "I was on the mound and I heard all this commotion. I thought there was a wave going on -- but there was no wave. In fact, if I'd have been in the dugout, I probably would have enjoyed it.
"I went back down in the tunnel to make sure he wasn't going to hurt himself. It was just frustration, that's all. He competes and he wants to win. As long as he doesn't hurt himself, that's all we care about. I'd rather have a guy who gets upset than a guy that does it with a smile, like he doesn't care."
Russell Martin homered and drove in three runs as the Dodgers sent Zambrano to his first loss in 11 starts. Derek Lowe (4-5) allowed three runs and six hits through seven innings, striking out four and walking two.
Lowe pitched no-hit ball through the first four innings in a rematch of his head-to-head duel with Zambrano on May 28 at Wrigley Field, when he tossed seven scoreless innings and Zambrano held the Dodgers to one run over eight. Neither got a decision in the Cubs' 2-1 victory.
"Derek's got to be the most hard-luck pitcher I think I've ever been on a team with," Jeff Kent said. "Yeah, he has some bad days, but he pitches deep into games and most of the time he keeps us in the ballgame. For some reason, he doesn't get the breaks. But a few times he has, like today, and I'm glad it worked out for him because he deserves more victories than he's been getting."
Zambrano (8-2) gave up seven runs over 6 2/3 innings and 13 hits, tying a career worst. The right-hander pitched with runners on base in every inning except the fifth, when he snared a hard line drive near his head by Andre Ethier for the third out.
Zambrano was 7-0 with a 2.31 ERA in his previous 10 starts since losing a 5-3 decision to Philadelphia on April 11, and had won his previous four outings on the road.
"We haven't gotten that (big) hit lately, but today we did," Kemp said. "I think we're starting to get a little fire under us, starting to come alive a little bit. We've still got a long way to go, but we're getting there. We've been struggling the past two weeks, but we have a good team and we know how to get out of it."
Zambrano put Chicago ahead 3-2 with an RBI single in the top of the seventh, but the Dodgers pulled ahead 7-3 in the bottom half.
Juan Pierre singled and appeared to be out trying to steal second, but the ball popped out of shortstop Ryan Theriot's glove just as he applied the tag. Umpire Eric Cooper was about to call Pierre out before the ball came loose.
That break gave the Dodgers the opening they needed.
"We seemed to self-destruct that inning. We gave them quite a few outs," Piniella said. "We've got to figure out why Theriot's dropping balls on tags at second base. That we can't do. I don't know how we only ended up (being charged) with one error that inning. I think Zambrano lost his concentration out there, and that was it."
Ethier followed with an infield single and continued to second as the throw from third baseman Aramis Ramirez bounced past first baseman Derrek Lee. Pierre scored on the error, and Martin put the Dodgers ahead to stay with a single that popped out of Kosuke Fukudome's glove about two feet off the ground as the right fielder made a diving attempt to grab the sinking line drive.
"The big play for us was Andre Ethier hitting that ball to the third baseman and him throwing that one-hopper past first," Kent said. "I think that really rattled those guys and it just put our crowd back into the game, gave us a lot of confidence and seemed put the momentum back in our hands -- at least in my eyes."
James Loney singled Martin to third, and Kemp drove Zambrano's 107th and final pitch over the center-field fence on a 1-0 fastball for his fifth home run after pitching coach Larry Rothschild went out for a chat with the Cubs' ace.
"I made a mistake. That's it. You make a mistake in the big leagues, you pay for it," Zambrano said. "I was angry at myself. I'm the one that has the ball in my hand, and if I have to blame somebody, I blame myself. It's my fault. Let's move on."
Alfonso Soriano led off the sixth with his 15th homer, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead. But Martin tied it in the bottom half with his fifth home run after Kent used his 40-year-old legs to beat the throw from Theriot on a ground single up the middle.
"The way things go for us at times, you just put your head down and play and don't really worry about how things unfold," Kent said. "You just try to do whatever you can to scratch and grind, whether it's an infield single or a home run, and hopefully you're good at the end of the day."
- A moment of silence was held for Jim McKay, the longtime voice of ABC Sports who died Saturday morning at age 86. In July 2000, when the American Sportscasters Association selected Dodgers play-by-play man Vin Scully as the No. 1 sportscaster of the 20th century, McKay finished sixth in the voting behind Scully, Howard Cosell, Mel Allen, Red Barber and Bob Costas.