|Chi. Cubs (45-43) «||0||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||7||1|
WASHINGTON -- Carlos Zambrano made up for some early wildness with another big hit at the plate.
"In the National League, you have to be able to pitch and you have to be able to contribute to your own cause," Zambrano said.
Zambrano (6-4) gave up an unearned run and four singles to win his second consecutive start after going 0-2 in his previous six outings. He struck out four and walked four in a 113-pitch effort as the Cubs won for the fourth time in five games.
By going 1 for 2, Zambrano raised his season batting average to .238 (10 for 42) with seven RBI -- lofty numbers for a position in the batting order usually considered an automatic out. He hit his third homer of the season to help the Cubs beat the Cardinals 7-3 in the opener of a day-night doubleheader Sunday.
"My job is to pitch, and sometimes I get lucky and get a base hit," Zambrano said.
Washington fell to 0-2 under interim manager Jim Riggleman, who took over when Manny Acta was fired Monday. Nyjer Morgan had three hits for the Nationals, who have lost eight of nine to lower their major league-worst record to 26-63.
"The final score is the only thing that matters and we have to find a way to get those runs in," said Riggleman, whose club stranded seven men in the first four innings and nine for the game.
Aaron Heilman, Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg combined to pitch four innings of two-hit ball after Zambrano departed, with Gregg earning his 17th save in 20 opportunities. Aramis Ramirez homered for the Cubs.
Zambrano labored through a 40-pitch first inning and the right-hander's control problems put him in a 1-0 hole. The Nationals loaded the bases on a pair of walks and an error before Willie Harris walked with two out to force in a run.
"In the first inning, I was a little shaky," Zambrano said. "My back was also a little tight today, but nothing to worry about. After that, I was able to come back and do my job."
Second baseman Mike Fontenot's sprawling, backhanded grab of Josh Bard's grounder up the middle, followed by a no-look flip to shortstop Ryan Theriot for an inning-ending forceout, prevented further damage in the first.
"That was a tough play that Fontenot made, a really nice play," manager Lou Piniella said. "It got us out of the first inning, and from then on Zambrano basically got better as the game progressed."
Zambrano quickly atoned for his wildness, coming up with a big hit in the second. Milton Bradley drew a leadoff walk and Fontenot doubled with one out to put runners on second and third. After Koyie Hill grounded out, Zambrano doubled down the right-field line to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
"I try to treat [pitchers] like a regular hitter and try to pitch them the same way instead of just grooving fastballs in there," Nationals starter Craig Stammen said. "I left a curveball that didn't break as much as I expected it to and [Zambrano] put a good swing on it."
Ramirez hit a two-out drive off Stammen into the seats in left in the third. It was his fifth homer.
Stammen (2-5), pushed up a day after left-hander Scott Olsen was scratched from Friday's start with back muscle tightness, allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.
|Carlos Zambrano connects with a double to drive in two runs and help his cause for the win. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Kosuke Fukudome, CF||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.255|
|Ryan Theriot, SS||3||0||0||0||1||0||0||.296|
|Derrek Lee, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.286|
|Aramis Ramirez, 3B||4||1||1||1||0||0||3||.320|
|Milton Bradley, RF||3||1||1||0||1||0||1||.239|
|Micah Hoffpauir, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.238|
|Andres Blanco, 2B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.222|
|Mike Fontenot, 2B||3||1||1||0||0||0||2||.232|
|a- Reed Johnson, PH-LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.258|
|Koyie Hill, C||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.208|
|Carlos Zambrano, P||2||0||1||2||0||0||0||.238|
|Aaron Heilman, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Sam Fuld, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.389|
|Sean Marshall, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.231|
|Carlos Marmol, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kevin Gregg, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Fontenot in the 9th|
|b-grounded out for Heilman in the 7th|
|2B - Kosuke Fukudome (18, Stammen), Mike Fontenot (12, Stammen), Carlos Zambrano (2, Stammen)|
|HR - Aramis Ramirez (5, Stammen)|
|RBI - Aramis Ramirez (18), Carlos Zambrano 2 (7)|
|2-OUT RBI - Aramis Ramirez (12), Carlos Zambrano 2 (3)|
|CS - Kosuke Fukudome (7, 2nd base by Stammen/Bard)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Hill-Ramirez|
|E - Ryan Theriot (10, Misplayed grounder)|
|Carlos Zambrano (W,6-4)||5||4||1||0||4||6||0||3.36|
|Aaron Heilman (H,6)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||4.22|
|Sean Marshall (H,5)||1.1||1||0||0||0||1||0||3.92|
|Carlos Marmol (H,20)||0.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.50|
|Kevin Gregg (S,17)||1||1||0||0||0||2||0||3.38|
|IBB - Dunn by Carlos Zambrano|
|Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Zambrano 113-64, Aaron Heilman 16-10, Sean Marshall 12-11, Carlos Marmol 10-7, Kevin Gregg 17-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Zambrano 5-4, Sean Marshall 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Carlos Zambrano 23, Aaron Heilman 3, Sean Marshall 5, Carlos Marmol 2, Kevin Gregg 4|
|Nyjer Morgan, CF||5||0||3||0||0||1||1||.286|
|Nick Johnson, 1B||3||1||1||0||1||0||2||.302|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.285|
|Adam Dunn, LF||3||0||0||0||1||2||0||.260|
|Josh Willingham, RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||.291|
|Willie Harris, 2B||3||0||0||1||1||1||0||.248|
|Josh Bard, C||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.258|
|Alberto Gonzalez, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.339|
|Craig Stammen, P||1||0||0||0||1||0||1||.235|
|Tyler Clippard, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Austin Kearns, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.195|
|Mike MacDougal, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Joe Beimel, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Ronnie Belliard, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.190|
|a-struck out for Clippard in the 7th|
|b-singled for Beimel in the 9th|
|2B - Nick Johnson (16, Marshall)|
|RBI - Willie Harris (17)|
|2-OUT RBI - Willie Harris (5)|
|SB - Nyjer Morgan (26, 2nd base off Zambrano/Hill)|
|CS - Nyjer Morgan (11, 3rd base by Zambrano/Hill)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Gonzalez-Harris-N. Johnson, Harris-N. Johnson|
|E - Alberto Gonzalez (8, Misplayed grounder)|
|Craig Stammen (L,2-5)||6||6||3||3||1||2||1||4.46|
|HBP - Hoffpauir (by Craig Stammen)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Craig Stammen 95-59, Tyler Clippard 19-14, Mike MacDougal 16-10, Joe Beimel 11-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Craig Stammen 11-4, Tyler Clippard 1-1, Mike MacDougal 1-1, Joe Beimel 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Craig Stammen 25, Tyler Clippard 3, Mike MacDougal 4, Joe Beimel 3|
|Attendance - 27581|
|Game Time - 2:39|
|Temperature - 75|
|Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - D.J. Reyburn, Second Base - Mike Estabrook, Third Base - Paul Emmel|