Cubs 6, Brewers 2

Preview | Box Score | Recap

MILWAUKEE (AP)—Carlos Zambrano controlled his temper and his pitches.

After a meltdown in his previous start that included a fight with his catcher, Zambrano struck out a season-high nine and led the Chicago Cubs over the Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 Wednesday.

Zambrano also delivered a pair of singles as the Cubs overcame Prince Fielder’s 21st home run.

Going into this game, Zambrano said he told himself, “Tomorrow is the season opening, opening night for you. Forget about anything else.”

“I had that in my mind,” he said.

Last week, Zambrano (6-5) gave up a career-high 13 hits against Atlanta and got into a dugout skirmish with catcher Michael Barrett. The hostilities continued in the clubhouse, and Barrett sustained a cut lip and went to a hospital for stitches.

“It was a bad feeling the next day. Believe me, it was a bad feeling,” Zambrano said. “That was in the past, and now we have to move on.”

Barrett got the day off after playing Tuesday night and backup Koyie Hill caught.

After initially saying he didn’t want to talk about turmoil, Zambrano said that he is still friends with Barrett.

“He called me ‘brother’ and I called him ‘brother,”’ Zambrano said of their tearful meeting before the series started in Milwaukee. “We forgive each other, and we’re back on track.”

Zambrano said that Barrett will catch his next start in Houston.

Hill had a simple plan to help Zambrano.

“We talked a little bit yesterday in the outfield,” Hill said. “He’s going to make everything go, it all goes off him. I’ve got to kept him happy and make sure that we’re doing what he wants to do.”

Zambrano threw 117 pitches, 77 for strikes and was never in trouble until the sixth. The excitable right-hander gave up five hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings.

“With his fastball, it’s about four different pitches,” Hill said. “So, we just used that mainly and went off that.”

He held the Brewers scoreless until Fielder homered off the center-field scoreboard in the sixth, a two-run shot that traveled 450 feet. Fielder tied Alex Rodriguez for the major league lead in home runs.

Zambrano heard a mixture of boos and cheers coming to the plate for the first time in the Cubs’ three-run second. He singled, and later added an RBI single.

Zambrano left the game to the same mixture of boos and cheers after he gave up Corey Hart’s bloop single. Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell, who guided the team to three wins in four games while manager Lou Piniella served a suspension, spoke to Zambrano for a few moments before the pitcher walked off the field.

Trammell said that he simply told Zambrano, “You did your job. That’s enough.”

Zambrano took off his hat and pointed to the sky as he left.

Felix Pie, in his second stint with Chicago, hit a three-run homer in the second inning as the Cubs roughed up Jeff Suppan (7-6). Pie also doubled and scored in the first, and had another hit.

Pie was promoted from Triple-A Iowa on Sunday.

“The command wasn’t where I wanted it to be today,” Suppan said. “I was just trying to make things happen.”

Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez left the game soon after reaching in the second on shortstop J.J. Hardy’s second error of the game. Ramirez has a strained left knee and was listed as day-to-day.

Trammell said that Ramirez’s injury was something that had been bothering him for a couple of weeks.

“Hopefully, he’ll only be out a day or two,” Trammell said. The team doctors are going to examine him in Chicago on Thursday and then he’ll join the Cubs in Atlanta.

Suppan went five innings and lost in a bid for his fifth straight win at Miller Park. Since losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 4, he had been 4-0 with a 3.26 ERA at home.

Notes

Piniella, whose four-game suspension ended after Wednesday’s game, met with media in the Cubs locker room before heading up to the press box to watch the game. Asked about the Cubs’ chances the rest of the season, he said, “There’s plenty of time to make a move, but you don’t make a move unless you stabilize yourself first, and that’s what we really need to do.” … Cubs RHP Angel Guzman was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 2, with a strained right elbow. RHP Sean Gallagher was selected from Double-A Tennessee to take Guzman’s spot. RHP Roberto Novoa was transferred to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster for Gallagher. Novoa has been on the disabled list since March 31. … Brewers LF Geoff Jenkins, who platoons with Kevin Mench, started against the right-hander Zambrano. … Milwaukee leads the NL with 78 home runs this season.

Related Articles

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Jun 6