Chicago at San Diego

Chi. Cubs (71-85) «000000100170
San Diego (87-69)000000000040

Big Z dominates again, Padres lose wild-card lead wire reports

SAN DIEGO -- With their playoff push down to the final week, the last thing the offensively challenged San Diego Padres needed was to face the reinvigorated Carlos Zambrano.

Zambrano won his seventh consecutive decision since rejoining Chicago's rotation, combining with two relievers on a four-hitter, and the Cubs held on to beat San Diego 1-0 on Monday night to knock the Padres out of the NL wild-card lead.

Postseason Chase

The Padres, who loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth before pinch-hitter Nick Hundley flied out to left, dropped one-half game behind the Atlanta Braves, who beat the Florida Marlins 2-1 in 11 innings.

"Nobody likes to lose, whether it's April or September," Padres manager Bud Black said.

The Padres fell a game behind idle San Francisco in the NL West race. After three more games against the Cubs, the Padres will end the season with three weekend games in San Francisco.

Zambrano (10-6) outdueled Tim Stauffer, holding San Diego to three hits over seven innings. He struck out five to pass Charlie Root for second place in club history with 1,436. He walked four.

Zambrano said his mother saw him pitch for the first time.

"I knew she was there," said Zambrano, who is from Venezuela. "She kind of inspired me. Today was a special day."

The big right-hander is 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 10 starts since returning to the rotation on Aug. 9. Following a June 25 dugout blowup, Zambrano was banished to the restricted list. He underwent anger management therapy, then made three relief appearances before getting his starting job back.

"Thank God that he blessed me with this end of the season. I read the other day in the paper, 'the former ace.' If you can count, you can see if I'm the former ace or if I'm still the ace of this team along with the other guys. I have confidence in myself," Zambrano said.

"This is a little bit different Carlos than we've seen in the past," San Diego's David Eckstein said. "The Carlos that we've faced before had that hard, 95 mph sinker. Tonight it wasn't as hard, but he was cutting the ball and especially was elevating that fastball just a little bit at the top of the strike zone, which was hard to get on top of. He was mixing in his split-finger and keeping guys off-balance. He's doing a great job."

Carlos Marmol pitched an eventful ninth for his 35th save in 40 chances. He struck out the first two batters before Yorvit Torrealba reached on an infield single, sliding headfirst into the bag. Everth Cabrera pinch-ran for Torrealba and stole second before Marmol hit Chase Headley on the right foot. Tony Gwynn Jr. walked to load the bases before Hundley flied out.

"This club just doesn't give up," Eckstein said. "We always try to find a way to put ourselves in a position to come up with that hit. We've done it a lot. It just didn't happen tonight."

Stauffer (5-5) held the Cubs to three hits through six innings before Chicago broke through. Alfonso Soriano doubled to left and scored on Blake DeWitt's single to center. DeWitt and Marlon Byrd each had three hits.

The Padres threatened in the seventh, Zambrano's final inning. Matt Stairs drew a leadoff walk and Headley walked with one out. But Zambrano got Gwynn to fly out to center and pinch-hitter Oscar Salazar to foul out.

"He's just attacking the zone with confidence," Cubs interim manager Mike Quade said. "He should be successful when he does that. One more good start in Houston and that will be some kind of finish. He's been fantastic."

Stauffer tied his career-high by going seven innings, allowing one run and five hits. He struck out five and walked two.

Padres shortstop Miguel Tejada and second baseman Eckstein made several nice plays, as did Cubs first baseman Xavier Nady.

The Padres had runners on first and second and two outs in the first when Nady fielded Stairs' hard grounder and stepped on the bag to end the threat. Nady made another big play in the second. After Torrealba drew a leadoff walk, Nady leaped to catch Headley's line drive and doubled off Torrealba.

With runners on first and second in the top of the fifth, Eckstein made a diving stop of Kosuke Fukudome's grounder and flipped it to Tejada to force Zambrano at second for the third out.

In the sixth, Starlin Castro's grounder glanced off Stauffer and Tejada barehanded it and threw him out.

"When you come here, this is what you expect -- good pitching, good defense, on the edge of your seat for nine innings," Quade said. "They live it every day. When you come in here as a visitor, it's really something."


  • Padres ace Mat Latos will try to bounce back from a three-game losing streak Tuesday night when he's scheduled to start opposite Ryan Dempster.
  • Padres LF Will Venable was a late scratch with a bad lower back, an injury that sidelined him earlier in the season. Stairs started in his place.
  • Stauffer is 2-2 with a 1.91 ERA in his past six starts.
Copyright 2015 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.
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Carlos Zambrano continues dealing since his return to the rotation, winning a seventh consecutive decision.  (AP)
Carlos Zambrano continues dealing since his return to the rotation, winning a seventh consecutive decision. (AP)

Players of the Game
San Diego

T. Stauffer
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 1
BB 2
K 5

C. Zambrano
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 4
K 5

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Chicago Cubs
Kosuke Fukudome, RF4000012 .266
Starlin Castro, SS4000000 .300
Marlon Byrd, CF4030010 .295
Aramis Ramirez, 3B3000102 .242
Xavier Nady, 1B4000001 .253
Alfonso Soriano, LF4110000 .255
    Sam Fuld, LF0000000 .182
Blake DeWitt, 2B4031000 .265
Koyie Hill, C3000112 .212
Carlos Zambrano, P2000121 .245
    Sean Marshall, P0000000 .000
   a- Micah Hoffpauir, PH0000000 .186
   b- Jeff Baker, PH1000002 .271
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
a-announced for Marshall in the 9th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Hoffpauir in the 9th
2B - Marlon Byrd (39, Gregerson), Alfonso Soriano (39, Stauffer), Blake DeWitt (23, Webb)
RBI - Blake DeWitt (52)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Nady
Chicago Cubs
Carlos Zambrano (W,10-6) 7300450 3.36
Sean Marshall (H,22) 1000020 2.70
Carlos Marmol (S,35) 1100120 2.65
HBP - Headley (by Carlos Marmol)
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Zambrano 106-59, Sean Marshall 10-8, Carlos Marmol 28-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Zambrano 7-8, Sean Marshall 1-0
Batters Faced - Carlos Zambrano 27, Sean Marshall 3, Carlos Marmol 6
San Diego Padres
David Eckstein, 2B4010011 .269
Miguel Tejada, SS4010001 .272
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B4000022 .301
Ryan Ludwick, RF4010020 .259
Matt Stairs, LF2000102 .226
    Chris Denorfia, PR-LF0000000 .264
   a- Mike Baxter, PH1000010 .125
Yorvit Torrealba, C3010110 .279
    Everth Cabrera, PR0000000 .208
Chase Headley, 3B2000110 .260
    Luis Durango, PR0000000 .255
Tony Gwynn Jr., CF3000102 .204
Tim Stauffer, P1000110 .133
   b- Oscar Salazar, PH1000002 .238
    Luke Gregerson, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Webb, P0000000 .000
    Joe Thatcher, P0000000 .000
   c- Nick Hundley, PH1000003 .249
a-struck out for Denorfia in the 9th
b-fouled out for Stauffer in the 7th
c-flied out for Thatcher in the 9th
SB - Everth Cabrera (10, 2nd base off Marmol/Hill)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Eckstein-Tejada-Gonzalez
San Diego Padres
Tim Stauffer (L,5-5) 7511250 1.89
Luke Gregerson 1100000 3.28
Ryan Webb 0.2100100 2.83
Joe Thatcher 0.1000000 1.30
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Stauffer 94-60, Luke Gregerson 18-13, Ryan Webb 14-8, Joe Thatcher 1-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Stauffer 10-5, Ryan Webb 1-1, Joe Thatcher 1-0
Batters Faced - Tim Stauffer 27, Luke Gregerson 4, Ryan Webb 4, Joe Thatcher 1
Game Information
Attendance - 22739
Game Time - 2:34
Temperature - 79
Umpires - Home - Greg Gibson, First Base - Gerry Davis, Second Base - Alfonso Marquez, Third Base - Sam Holbrook