Carlos Zambrano was virtually unhittable until his last start.
Zambrano allowed just three earned runs in 21 innings in his first three starts, going 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA.
“It’s just a bad day,” Zambrano said. “I made some quality pitches and they hit them. I just have to forget about them and think about the next step.”
The 22-year-old right-hander threw 50 of his 86 pitches for strikes, but walked two while striking out just one. He had 17 strikeouts coming into the game.
“I didn’t make my pitches today. They were hitting everything,” he said. “It was kind of like, the one bad start you have in the year and this is the one that happened today. I don’t think it will happen again.”
Zambrano was strong last year in his first full season in the Cubs’ starting rotation, going 13-11 with a 3.11 ERA and 168 strikeouts.
The Cubs beat the Cardinals 4-2 on Saturday for just their sixth win in their last 32 games at Busch. Aramis Ramirez hit a three-run homer for Chicago, which has won just two of five since a six-game winning streak.
“He thrives in those big-game situations,” manager Dusty Baker said of Ramirez. “He’s as dangerous as anyone up there with runners in scoring position.”
Ray Lankford went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI for the Cardinals, who have lost three of their last five.