He felt much better afterward.
The Chicago right-hander allowed one run on five hits in 6 2-3
innings, striking out eight in Chicago's 5-3 win over Oakland on
Sunday. Zambrano left to a standing ovation after lowering his ERA
to 2.25 -- second-best in the NL behind Tom Glavine.
"I was feeling tired at that point," the 23-year-old said.
"That was enough for me. I wasn't feeling good today. I was
feeling good throwing the ball, but I was sick."
Not that the Athletics could tell.
Zambrano struggled with his control, but Oakland never could
break through. He walked consecutive batters in the third inning,
walked the leadoff man in the fourth and hit the leadoff batter
with a fastball in fifth. None of the runners scored.
The Athletics threatened in the fourth with runners on first and
second and one out when Zambrano got Marco Scutaro to pop out to
right. He then struck out Barry Zito looking with an outside
Zambrano has won four straight decisions and has allowed two or
fewer runs in 11 of 14 starts this season.
"He's got a lot of movement on his pitches," Oakland manager
Ken Macha said. "I was watching the catcher, it looked like he had
a tough time catching a bunch of those pitches. He can throw 97
(mph) and has great command of his breaking ball. Who is his
The Cubs took two of three from Oakland in the first
regular-season meeting between the clubs. Chicago has won eight of
nine to move two games behind first-place St. Louis in the NL
The Cubs and Cardinals begin a three-game series Tuesday.
"It's a lot of fun. Especially now that we're playing good
baseball," Derrek Lee said. "I think it will continue to get even
better if we continue to play like this."
The Cubs first baseman was 3-for-3 with a homer in the eighth
for Chicago. Lee has 11 hits in his last 14 at-bats and has reached
base safely in 11 consecutive plate appearances.
"June has always been a good month for me. I don't know why --
nothing like this, ever," Lee said. "It's just one of those
stretches where you ride it out and take advantage of it, because
it definitely doesn't last forever."
Moises Alou lined a two-run homer off Zito in the first inning,
hitting it just inside the left-field pole to score Todd Walker for
a 2-0 Cubs lead. It was Alou's 17th home run, just five fewer than
he had all of last season.
Aramis Ramirez drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
The Cubs added another run on Corey Patterson's RBI double to
right in a rough first inning for Zito. The Oakland left-hander
needed 39 pitches to get out of the first.
Zito (4-4) lasted just five innings and was taken out after
throwing 110 pitches. He allowed four runs on seven hits and three
walks, striking out two and hitting a batter.
"Barry was struggling with his command, particularly his
curveball," Macha said. "He had a 2-0 pitch to Alou, a fastball
hitter, and he hit it right out of there.
"Overall, we'd like him to go further into the game."
The Athletics cut the deficit to 3-1 when Jermaine Dye led off
the second with a double down the right-field line and scored on
Scott Hatteberg's double. Hatteberg advanced to third with one out,
but Zambrano struck out Adam Melhuse and Scutaro swinging to end
Mark McLemore finished 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI for
Oakland, and Adam Melhuse went 2-for-4 with two singles.
Dye's double in the second was the 200th of his career. ...
McLemore was back in the lineup and hitting third after missing the
last two games to be with his mother, who was having surgery in
Dallas. ... Zambrano made a spectacular play in the third inning,
bare-handing Byrnes' grounder toward third and making an
off-balance throw to first for the out. ... Dye lost a high flyball
in the sun in the fifth, allowing Walker to advance to third with a