Mets 6, Cubs 1
NEW YORK (AP)—One Zambrano left with an injury. The other left quite an impression.
“The guy has good stuff,” said Mets manager Willie Randolph, who gave his Zambrano a brief pep talk during the game. “His sinker could be devastating— if he would just trust that.”
The Cubs, who lost Carlos Zambrano—no relation to Victor—to a back injury after three innings, have dropped nine of 12 and are fading in the NL wild-card race.
“We haven’t been up in a while,” Derrek Lee said. “I’m glad this road trip is over, but you could say that about the last homestand, too.”
Carlos Beltran scored three times for New York, while Floyd had three hits and reached safely all four times up. Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to a career-best 20 games, the longest current run in the majors.
“Everybody’s eyes light up when he gets on. He makes it easier for everybody,” Floyd said of Reyes.
The Mets outscored the Cubs 17-6 in the series and have 48 runs in their past seven games. New York is three games behind wild-card leader Houston, with three teams in between.
“If they look at the standings then they know we’re back in the mix,” Randolph said. “I trust they understand it’s time to play.”
Chicago made two errors and allowed three unearned runs, leaving manager Dusty Baker scratching his head in the dugout.
“They found every hole. We helped them with a couple of errors, and we weren’t doing it offensively,” Baker said.
The Cubs went 0-6 in New York this season—they also were swept by the Yankees during interleague play in June.
“New York hasn’t been too good to us,” Baker said before the game. “It hasn’t been too good to a lot of people.”
Victor Zambrano (6-9) was roughed up in his last start against Milwaukee, when he gave up four homers and six runs in 1 1-3 innings. But the only run he allowed this time came on consecutive doubles by Michael Barrett and Jose Macias in the eighth.
The right-hander gave up five hits and walked two. His only major league complete game was a nine-hitter on Sept. 7, 2003, with Tampa Bay against Oakland.
Aaron Heilman finished the six-hitter.
Carlos Zambrano (8-5) left after 80 pitches because of tightness in his lower back. He gave up two earned runs and four hits and departed trailing 4-0.
“He’s had that from time to time. That’s the first time he’s had it this year, but when a guy comes to you and says his back is really tight, you can’t leave him in there,” Baker said. “It’s just unfortunate that it happened tonight at the end of this trip, a bad road trip.”
Carlos Zambrano declined to comment after the game. He was to be re-examined Monday and is day to day.
An All-Star last season, the 24-year-old right-hander won his previous four decisions and had lasted at least seven innings in his past seven starts.
Beltran reached on third baseman Aramis Ramirez’s two-out throwing error in the first. Running on a 3-2 pitch, Beltran scored all the way from first base when Floyd grounded a single to right-center through an overshifted infield.
“When Floyd hit the ball, in my mind I had to try to score on that,” Beltran said. “I just told myself to run until the coach stops me.”
Wright followed with an RBI single. He also had a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the third, and Mike Piazza’s two-out single made it 4-0.
Beltran singled and scored on Wright’s RBI groundout in the fifth. Floyd connected in the seventh against Roberto Novoa, setting off fireworks.
Both Zambranos entered with 42 career wins, the second time in major league history that opposing starters with the same last name came in with matching victory totals, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other was on June 15, 1944, when Red Barrett of the Boston Braves and Dick Barrett of the Philadelphia Phillies each had 19 wins. … It was the fourth time in modern major league history that starting pitchers with a last name beginning with Z faced each other, according to Elias. Victor and Carlos Zambrano have both faced Oakland’s Barry Zito. … The Mets earned their fourth sweep of the season. … Chicago SS Nomar Garciaparra went 2-for-3 in his second game back from the disabled list. He singled in the second inning for his first hit since injuring his groin in April. … Reyes is batting .374 during his hitting streak, the longest by a Mets SS. He matched Floyd for the longest hitting streak by a Met this year. … It was Pedro Martinez bobblehead night at Shea Stadium.