Victor Zambrano is still a little wild. Only now he’s effectively wild.
The Tampa Bay right-hander will try to post his fourth win in as many starts when the Devil Rays resume a three-game series with the visiting Chicago White Sox.
Zambrano showed flashes of brilliance last year, going 12-10 with a 4.21 ERA. However, he had problems with his control, walking 106 in 188 1-3 innings. So far this season, not much has changed.
Zambrano has issued 10 walks in 17 2-3 innings, but his 3-0 record has helped pacify manager Lou Piniella, who normally boils over in frustration over bases on balls.
“Victor has got that uncanny ability to do that,” Piniella said after Zambrano held the Baltimore Orioles to two hits in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position during Sunday’s 10-1 victory.
“He’s got good stuff, that’s obvious. Just a question of being a little more economical with his pitches. I’ll tell you this … how can you fault anybody 3-0. We’ve won four games and he’s won three of them.”
Zambrano, who opened the year by beating the New York Yankees in Japan, became the first starting pitcher to win three times through his team’s first seven games since Kevin Appier accomplished the feat for Kansas City in 1995.
“It’s important for the team,” Zambrano said. “It’s a really good thing for us. We are a team. We’re working together.”
Zambrano did show good control against the Orioles, striking out six and walking two while allowing a run and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings.
The Devil Rays took the series opener 3-0 behind seven strong innings from right-hander Paul Abbott. Carl Crawford and Julio Lugo homered for Tampa Bay, which got its first win from a starter other than Zambrano.
Chicago had a three-game winning streak snapped, and missed out on its first 7-3 start since 1991.
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