The Chicago Cubs may not win the NL Central, but the wild card spot is well within their reach.
Chicago has won six of eight to catch San Diego in the NL wild card race. The Cubs are 9 1/2 games behind St. Louis in the NL Central, but they’re tied with the Padres in the NL wild card race.
Zambrano’s success this season helped steady Chicago’s rotation when Prior and Wood were on the disabled list. He’s 10-6 with a 2.78 ERA after going 13-11 last season.
The 23-year-old hurler began the season 8-2 before losing four of his last six decisions. Zambrano ended a three-start losing streak by beating Milwaukee 4-0 on Thursday. The right-hander held the Brewers to four hits and struck out eight in eight innings.
Wood pitched eight effective innings and Derrek Lee hit his 21st homer in a five-run second that lifted the Cubs over the Rockies 5-3 in Tuesday’s opener.
Sammy Sosa drove in a run and so did Garciaparra for Chicago, playing his second game since the Cubs acquired him from Boston as part of a four-team trade.
Chicago manager Dusty Baker said he will be cautious with his use of Garciaparra, who hasn’t completely recovered from Achilles’ tendon surgery.
“He will let me know when it starts to bark. I want to know the night before,” Baker said.
The Rockies had won five of six before Tuesday’s loss.
Helton has 10 home runs, 20 RBIs and has scored 24 runs over the last 30 games.