Zambrano (3-1) was almost unhittable, retiring his first 14
batters and facing only two over the minimum.
"This kid is electric," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
"He overpowered us today. There's no doubt about that. He had
everything and threw everything where he wanted to throw it with
velocity, with tilt, with sharpness.
"They threw us a beating, basically."
A month shy of his 23rd birthday and in only his second full
season in the majors, Zambrano is the rawest talent in the Cubs'
dazzling rotation. But make no mistake, he's got the potential to
be as nasty as Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. He hasn't given up a run
in his last two starts, allowing five hits and striking out 17 in
Getting some help Friday from a wind that was gusting in at up
to 22 mph, Zambrano walked none and struck out five in his second
career shutout. He allowed four baserunners the entire afternoon
and needed only 97 pitches.
"I felt good today," said Zambrano, who lowered his ERA to
2.18, the best of the Cubs starters. "I tried to let them put the
ball in play, and that's what happened."
That doesn't begin to describe how tough Zambrano was, though.
The Rockies only got four balls out of the infield. They didn't
have a hit until Matt Holliday's two-out single between short and
third in the fifth inning.
Luis Gonzalez reached on shortstop Ramon Martinez's error in the
sixth inning, but was doubled off one batter later. Zambrano then
retired seven straight before hitting Gonzalez in the ninth. He
gave up his second hit to Aaron Miles, but ended the game with a
Zambrano's previous low-hit game was a three-hitter against
Arizona last August.
"He could have easily gone out there and not given up a hit
today. He had that kind of stuff," Estes said. "Hats off to him.
He pitched a great game. One run would've been too many today."
Estes (4-2) gave up a season-high nine runs and seven hits in 2
2-3 innings, walking five while hitting one.
"He didn't give himself a chance," Hurdle said. "He didn't
give us a chance."
A frequent target of the boo birds at Wrigley because of his
8-11 record and 5.73 ERA last year, Estes seemed to have found a
groove with the Rockies. He won the opening day starter's job after
going to spring training as a non-roster invitee, and returned to
Wrigley with a 4-1 record.
But it didn't take long for Estes to return to his old ways. He
walked his first two batters in the second, then loaded the bases
with two outs when he hit Todd Walker above the elbow. The Cubs
then capitalized when Jeromy Burnitz had a scary collision with a
Burnitz was looking over his shoulder as he chased Corey
Patterson's fly back to the wall in left-center, and he slammed
face-first at full speed into a set of metal doors. Burnitz had
caught the ball a half-step before hitting the wall, but it popped
free when he instinctively put his hands up to brace himself.
Burnitz fell to ground and didn't seem to realize he'd dropped
the ball, looking at his empty glove with surprise when he got up.
"I caught it," he said. "I just hit the wall and knocked it
By the time Holliday ran over from left and found the ball,
Michael Barrett, Martinez and Walker had scored on the double to
give the Cubs a 4-0 lead.
"That was a big play for him even getting to the ball," Cubs
manager Dusty Baker said. "I'm just glad he didn't get hurt."
Estes got in more trouble in the third when he walked Walker to
load the bases with only one out. The Cubs made it 9-0 before Estes
was finally relieved by Turk Wendell.
"When Zambrano gets that kind of support, he's exceptionally
tough," Baker said. "He was masterful today. He had no-hit
Zambrano's other shutout was last Aug. 12, against Houston.
... INF Damian Jackson, recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Friday
morning, made his Cubs debut when he replaced 2B Walker in the top
of the seventh. ... The Cubs won back-to-back games for the first
time since April 24-25. ... The Cubs scored their first run in the
second on C Charles Johnson's errant pickoff throw.