CHICAGO (AP) -- Carlos Zambrano seems to keep getting stronger as
the season goes on.
Zambrano scattered six hits over eight innings, and the Chicago
Cubs scored eight runs in the seventh to beat the Florida Marlins
14-3 and snap a three-game losing streak.Zambrano (11-5) struck out six and walked two, and helped
himself at the plate with a triple and a run. He is 7-1 in his last
12 starts."I've been working hard on strength and conditioning,"
Zambrano said. "When you do a good job and take care of your body,
at the end of the season you feel strong."The Cubs retired Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg's number before the
game, then got three hits from MVP candidate Derrek Lee, including
two solo homers. It was his eighth two-homer game this season and
the 17th of his career. The shot in the first inning was the 200th
homer for Lee and the 38th this season, breaking a tie with Ernie
Banks for the most by a Cubs first baseman.Jerry Hairston had three hits, a run and four RBI, and Todd
Hollandsworth had two hits, including a two-run double in the
seventh.Carlos Delgado hit a three-run homer for the Marlins, whose
three-game win streak ended. It was the third time this season --
and the second time against the Cubs -- Florida allowed 14 runs,
tying a season high.Marlins starter Josh Beckett (12-8) allowed six runs -- five
earned -- and seven hits in six-plus innings. Florida, which took
two of three from the Cubs, started the day a half-game behind
Philadelphia in the wild-card standings."We won the series -- that's the main thing," Beckett said.
"It would have been nice to sweep. It's just one of those deals.
You can't give up that many runs to that good of a pitcher."The Cubs broke a 3-all tie with an unearned run in the sixth and
chased Beckett in the seventh.Zambrano led off the seventh with a triple and the next batter,
Hairston, drove him in with a single that knocked out Beckett.
Antonio Alfonseca retired Todd Walker, but surrendered an RBI
single to Lee to make it 6-3.After allowing an infield single by Jeromy Burnitz and walking
Nomar Garciaparra to load the bases, Alfonseca was ejected by home
plate umpire Laz Diaz. John Riedling relieved and gave up a two-run
double to left by Hollandsworth.Ronny Cedeno walked to reload the bases and Henry Blanco cleared
them with a double to the left-field corner that made it 11-3.After going 0-for-8 the first two games of the series, Lee hit
solo shots in the first and eighth, giving him 39 homers -- second
in the National League to Atlanta's Andruw Jones. Marlins left
fielder Jeff Conine took about two steps and watched Lee's
first-inning drive sail over the "Ryne Sandberg Second to none"
banner hanging from the chain-link fence behind the bleachers."I felt like I wasn't being aggressive," Lee said. "I was
taking the wrong approach. I was being passive. ... The first two
games, I was taking pitches down the middle, which I hadn't gotten
in a while."Two runs scored on Hairston's infield single to third, giving
the Cubs a 3-0 lead in the fifth. He dove in head first, just ahead
of Miguel Cabrera's throw, allowing Garciaparra and a hustling
Hollandsworth, who was on second, to score.The way Zambrano was pitching, the lead appeared safe. He
retired nine of the first 10 batters and did not allow a hit until
Conine's infield single with one out in the fourth. He did not
allow a runner past first until Juan Pierre's double with one out
in the sixth.Conine then singled off Zambrano's chest, and with two out,
Delgado sent a 1-0 pitch out to left for his 26th homer and a 3-3
tie.It was Zambrano's only mistake.Lee reached on an error leading off the sixth and scored from
third on Cedeno's two-out single."Pitching against a guy like (Zambrano), you can't give up five
or six runs," Beckett said. "You just can't do it. He's going to
have a day every once in a while where he does, but they're going
to be few and far between."
With their wild-card hopes flickering, the Cubs may decide
this week to shut down RHP Kerry Wood for the rest of the season.
Wood, who needs surgery on his right shoulder, has pitched in
relief since returning Aug. 5 from his second stint on the DL. The
decision hinges on whether the Cubs believe they still have a shot
at the postseason -- a longshot given they entered Sunday's game 8½
games behind Philadelphia and tied for seventh with Cincinnati. ...
In the pregame ceremony, the Cubs presented a framed replica of
Sandberg's jersey and hung his number on the right-field foul pole.
He is the fourth Cub to have his number retired, joining Billy
Williams, Ron Santo and Ernie Banks. ... The Dodgers scored 14
against the Marlins on May 17 and the Cubs did it on June 14.