Series: Game 3 of 3

Chi Cubs won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, June 18
Chi Cubs1
Game 2: Saturday, June 19
Chi Cubs4
Game 3: Sunday, June 20
Chi Cubs5

Athletics 3

(38-29, 15-19 away)

Cubs 5

(39-30, 20-15 home)

    2:20 PM ET, June 20, 2004

    Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    OAK 010000002 3 8 0
    CHC 30001001 - 5 10 0

    W: C. Zambrano (8-2)

    L: B. Zito (4-4)

    Cubs win two of three in series

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano was dizzy with a headache before he took the mound against the Oakland Athletics.

    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 fastball.

    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 agent?"

    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 Central.

    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."

    Kent Mercker got one out in the seventh, Kyle Farnsworth threw a scoreless eighth and LaTroy Hawkins allowed Eric Byrnes' RBI single and Mark McLemore's run-scoring double in the ninth.

    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 the threat.

    Mark McLemore finished 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI for Oakland, and Adam Melhuse went 2-for-4 with two singles.

    Game notes

    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 leadoff triple.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press