Series: Game 2 of 4

Series tied 1-1 (as of 8/12)

Game 1: Monday, August 11
Chi Cubs1
Game 2: Tuesday, August 12
Chi Cubs3
Game 3: Wednesday, August 13
Chi Cubs6
Game 4: Thursday, August 14
Chi Cubs7

Astros 0

(64-55, 28-32 away)

Cubs 3

(61-57, 29-30 home)

    8:05 PM ET, August 12, 2003

    Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    HOU 000000000 0 5 0
    CHC 20000100 - 3 9 0

    W: C. Zambrano (11-8)

    L: T. Redding (8-10)

    Zambrano gets first major league shutout

    CHICAGO (AP) -- On a pitching staff featuring Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano could easily be overlooked.

    Not anymore. Not after going 5-0 since the All-Star break.

    Zambrano pitched a five-hitter for his first major league shutout Tuesday night as the Chicago Cubs beat the Houston Astros 3-0.

    "It's one team that makes me throw more aggressively than other teams," Zambrano said after improving to 3-0 with and 0.85 ERA against the Astros this season.

    "I've been practicing in the bullpen and between my starts to be more consistent and aggressive."

    Houston's lead in the NL Central was reduced to one game over St. Louis, which beat the Pirates 10-6, and 2{ over the Cubs.

    Zambrano (11-8) started strongly and finished with 10 strikeouts to match a career high. After retiring Craig Biggio on a grounder to start the game, he fanned five straight -- Geoff Blum, Jeff Bagwell, Jeff Kent, Lance Berkman and Richard Hidalgo.

    "He had good action on his ball. He throws 96 mph with a little cut and you are in for a battle," Biggio said.

    "He's a power pitcher with a lot of movement," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said of the 22-year-old Zambrano. "It moves, it sinks, it cuts, it darts. His potential is unlimited. ... He was awesome tonight. It's as good a game as you'll see."

    Alex Gonzalez, benched for two days and in a 2-for-46 slump that had driven his average down to .224, hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Tim Redding (8-10).

    Moved up from seventh in the batting order to second after a hand injury forced Ramon Martinez to the bench, Gonzalez hit his 15th of the season and first since July 21.

    "I didn't make too many bad pitches tonight. I didn't even think the home run was a bad pitch in the first," Redding said.

    "I got outpitched. A guy goes five-hit, complete game against us, striking out 10. He's been pitching well against us all year long."

    The Astros threatened with two outs in the eighth when Zambrano hit Biggio and Blum singled, before Bagwell hit into a forceout.

    The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Zambrano, who's not afraid to show his emotions on the mound, then finished up his first career complete game.

    "He's been dominating," said Gonzalez, who also started a game-ending double play. "You sit out there and watch him pitch, almost like a spectator."

    The Cubs added a run in the sixth on an RBI single by Aramis Ramirez following a single by Moises Alou, a stolen base and walk to Hee Seop Choi.

    Game notes

    Zambrano also struck out 10 Astros on July 20, 2002 ... Martinez, who'd been filling in at second for Mark Grudzielanek while he recovers from a broken hand, sat out with a sore hand. Augie Ojeda started in his place. ... Kent made a sensational play to end the Cubs' sixth inning and hold them to a single run. Kenny Lofton hit a hard grounder up the middle with two outs and the bases loaded and shortstop Adam Everett fielded the ball and made a one-bounce shovel pass to Kent. He scooped it and was able to reach back and hit the bag with his leg and force Ojeda. ... Lofton, who sat out Monday's game with a jammed wrist, had three hits. ... The last Cubs pitcher to win five straight decisions was Jon Lieber in 2001.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press