WOW – I thought this one was over after 1, but Carlos Zambrano proved that maybe he has “changed” in the Cubs 6-3 win over the Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday night. Zambrano allowed 3 of the first 4 batters he faced to score as Carlos Quentin delivered an RBI single and Paul Konerko delivered a 2-run home run in the 1st inning. Big Z could have cashed it in and given in to his demons (just a year ago, he got into an altercation with teammates in the dugout of this same cross-town classic rivalry and was suspended by the Cubs for his actions). Instead, Zambrano re-gained his focus during the break and went on to pitch 8 outstanding innings to give his club a chance to win an important game. Zambrano allowed 2 White Sox hitters to reach base only once more during the game. That was in the 5th inning when he put himself in a 1st and 3rd 1-out jam facing the middle of the lineup. But he battled and got Carlos Quentin to fly out and Paul Konerko to strike out to keep the Cubs trailing by just 1 run.
Starlin Castro was the other Cub player who stepped up big in the win. Castro’s 2-run single cut the White Sox lead to 3-2 in the 3rd inning. And after Big Z’s heroics in the 5th inning, Castro led of the 6th inning with a game-tying solo home run to deep left field. Gavin Floyd seemed shaken by the HR – he then surrendered a single to Blake DeWitt and a walk to Aramis Ramirez. Then it was time for Carlos Pena to deliver the game-changing 3-run bomb to deep right center field that gave the Cubs a 6-3 lead. And that’s how it stood the rest of the way.
Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th inning – he gave up 1-out singles to A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios to bring the tying run to the plate. But marmol got Mark Teahen to line out to right field and Juan Pierre to ground out to 2nd base to preserve the 6-3 Cubs win. It was Marmol’s 15th save and it also gave Big Z his 6th win of the season.
Matt Garza and Mark Buehrle battle it out in game 2 of the cross-town classic series tonight at U.S. Cellular Field…