Zambrano was acquired from Tampa Bay along with minor league pitcher Bartolome Fortunato last Friday for Scott Kazmir— the Mets’ best pitching prospect— and minor league pitcher Jose Diaz.
The Devil Rays’ leader in wins this season, Zambrano was 9-7 with a 4.43 ERA 23 games, including 22 starts. The Venezuelan right-hander also struck out 109 in 128 innings.
Zambrano, eligible for arbitration after this season, was 35-27 in four years with the Devil Rays.
“He’s pitched well enough to deserve what the system says he’s going to get paid,” Tampa Bay general manager Chuck LaMar said. “He’s arguably the best pitcher this organization ever had, somebody who could still improve at the major league level. But if not, he has proven he’s an outstanding major league pitcher. He’s had great success and I think that success will continue.”
Zambrano, who has a major league-leading 96 walks this season, has never faced the Brewers, but is 10-1 lifetime against National League teams.
The Mets won the middle game of the series 6-5 on Wednesday, and are on the verge of their first three-game sweep at Milwaukee since Aug. 2-4, 1999. Mike Cameron hit his seventh homer in his last 11 games, and 23rd overall this season as New York won consecutive games for the first time since July 6-7 at Philadelphia.
Pinch-hitter Trent Durrington and Russell Branyan each homered for the Brewers, who dropped a season-high four games below .500 and are 6-14 since the All-Star break.