Cubs 7, Dodgers 3
The right-hander allowed two hits over eight innings, and the Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-3 Thursday to avoid being swept for the first time this season.
“It was a very important game for us,” Zambrano said. “Everybody here is ace. Everybody did a little bit to win the game.”
The Cubs capitalized on Hideo Nomo’s lack of control by turning three consecutive walks and four hits into six runs in the second inning.
“I haven’t seen Nomo wild like he was today,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “We got to take advantage because it doesn’t happen very often.”
As much as Nomo struggled, Zambrano dominated.
Zambrano (4-1) has given up just one unearned run in his last 24 innings. He pitched a two-hitter against Colorado last Friday.
“I feel good,” he said. “Everything is working. I’m more comfortable, more experienced, I know the league better. I just go out there and have fun.”
Zambrano gave up an unearned run in the seventh inning and struck out 11, walked two and hit two batters. The Dodgers’ hits came on Adrian Beltre’s infield single in the second and Shawn Green’s double with two outs in the sixth.
“He stayed focused and concentrated the entire game, which isn’t easy with a 6-0 lead,” Baker said.
Nomo (3-4) gave up six runs on three hits in 1 1-3 innings, walked three and struck out one.
“His command faltered in the second inning and that was the big issue,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. “When you’re facing the likes of a Carlos Zambrano, to give them six runs in one inning is certainly a mountain to have to climb. And more times than not, you’re not going to.”
Nomo retired the Cubs in order in the first, then things went downhill. He gave up a leadoff single to Aramis Ramirez, followed by three consecutive walks. Nomo had an 0-2 count against Ramon Martinez before walking him on a 3-2 pitch to force in Ramirez. Paul Bako’s bases-loaded RBI single gave Chicago a 2-0 lead.
“I was just trying to stay aggressive. I just couldn’t hold them off,” Nomo said. “But I don’t really think I have a problem with mechanics. All I can do is keep working hard and try to do the best I can.”
Sammy Sosa took the day off, something Baker wants him to do occasionally.
“I told him how it made Barry (Bonds) better in San Francisco,” Baker said.
The Dodgers scored in the seventh when Juan Encarncion reached on third baseman Ramirez’s throwing error, advanced to second on a hit batter and third on a groundout, and scored on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz.
Todd Hollandsworth grounded into a force play in the ninth inning for a 7-1lead.
Dodgers 2B Alex Cora left the game before the top of the fifth with a contusion to his right elbow after being hit by Zambrano. He’s day to day. … Nomo is 0-3 with a 12.71 ERA in day games this season. … Macias, who started in place of 2B Todd Walker, had three hits. … Beltre extended his hitting streak to 16 games, one short of his career high. … The Cubs are 16-1 in games where they score four or more runs. … Lima sang “God Bless America” and the national anthem before the game. He is lead singer of his own band, which has an album out and plays in clubs in the United States and DominicanRepublic.