The Juice: Cubs, Zambrano knock Padres from wild-card lead

Gather 'round, because it's time to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts in San Diego, where the Chicago Cubs made themselves a nuisance in the NL West pennant race.

Game of the Day: Cubs 1, Padres 0

Best served late: There's still no coming back from the 1984 NLCS, Cubs fans, so little bits of revenge against San Diego will have to do. How about knocking the Padres from the top spot in the West and NL wild card?

The Cubs did, at least for a night, thanks in part to another great effort by the suddenly resurgent Carlos Zambrano(notes). He pitched similarly last week against the Giants, but his team lost. Big Z is 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 10 starts since returning from the cornfield.

"Thank God that he blessed me with this end of the season. I read the other day in the paper, 'the former ace.' If you can count, you can see if I'm the former ace or if I'm still the ace of this team along with the other guys. I have confidence in myself," Zambrano said.

I don't know what any of that has to do with counting, but it sounds better to me for $91 million than what he was giving the Cubs before.

DeHit: Blake DeWitt(notes) had three hits, including one with an RBI attached. The Padres had no RBIs, which is their way sometimes.

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They Also Played...

Braves 2, Marlins 1 (11 inn.): About the only thing the Braves have going for themselves is — and Omar Infante(notes) knows this — they finish the season at home, where they have the majors' best record.

Phillies 8, Nationals 0: Somehow, the Marlins will try to sell unused tickets from this historic Phillies game.

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 5: The question now is, will the Yankees even let A.J. Burnett(notes) watch them on TV in the playoffs? I say maybe.

Orioles 4, Rays 0: Even if 40,000 people showed up to the Trop, the Rays still would have been blanked by Brian Matusz(notes) and bullpen.

Cardinals 6, Pirates 4: Only a phone call by the Governor — former major league infielder Jerry Browne — stayed the Cardinals execution. Probably, that's what happened.

Indians 6, Tigers 3: I'd like to tell you that umpire Jim Joyce blew 19 calls and that's why Armando Galarraga(notes) lost, but it would be a fib.

Brewers at Mets, ppd. (rain): Nothing to see here.

Mariners 7, Rangers 5: Justin Smoak(notes) 'em — if you got him, which the Rangers don't but used to.

Dodgers 3, Rockies 1: Ted Lilly(notes) should be on a pennant contender. What was the world thinking, chaining him to the Dodgers like this?

Red Sox 6, White Sox 1: Mixed together, and washed improperly, you get pink socks.

Royals 10, Twins 8: The AP story quotes Ron Gardenhire as saying, "We didn't pitch worth a crude. We haven't played worth a crude the whole road trip and it starts with the pitching."

A crude. A crude of oil? A crude joke? What the crude is he trying to say?

He actually said "crap." Must have been a rogue Google auto-completion.

Well, another of the Great Mysteries solved. Next week, we learn what the crude happened to the Mayans.

Angels 6, Athletics 5: Who wants second place and how bad? Heckuva rallying cry there.

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