Two solo homers enough for Zambrano

Two solo homers enough for Zambrano

CHICAGO -- Carlos Zambrano made his mother, Dusty Baker's mother, and the mothers in the crowd of 38,413 at Wrigley Field on Sunday very happy.

Zambrano threw a five-hit complete game to help the Cubs snap a seven-game losing streak and post a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

"It's a tremendous relief," said Baker, the Cubs manager. "That's what the good ones do, the good ones stop streaks. That's a great Mother's Day gift to his mother, a great Mother's Day gift to me, and everybody else on the team."

Aramis Ramirez and Neifi Perez each hit solo homers to back Zambrano (3-1), who gave up one run on Bobby Abreu's fourth homer with two out in the Phillies sixth. Zambrano was mad at himself for issuing three walks.

"I want to eliminate that and throw one or two per game," he said.

Right now, he needs to rest. The right-hander threw 136 pitches on Sunday in his first complete game in nearly one year. He last went the distance on May 7, 2004, against Colorado. On Sunday, Zambrano struck out five.

"He threw a lot of pitches but 'Z's' as strong as an ox," Baker said. "We needed this game. 'Z' wanted it."

Baker had Ryan Dempster, the newly anointed closer for the Cubs, warming up in the bullpen in the ninth just in case. But Zambrano's fastballs were still registering around 97 mph.

"The way I was feeling in the ninth and how excited I was to finish the game, I didn't pay attention to who was warming up," Zambrano said. "I was concentrating on [catcher Michael Barrett's] glove and doing my job."

He wasn't tired after the extended outing.

"When you prepare yourself in the offseason, the manager counts on you to throw games like this. It's not a surprise," Zambrano said. "Like I always say, 130 pitches, 140 pitches is nothing."

"He brings an energy to the game, and that's what we needed," Chicago's Corey Patterson said of Zambrano, who outdueled Phillies starter Brett Myers (2-2).

Myers ranks among the National League leaders in nearly every pitching category. He gave up two runs on five hits over eight innings and struck out 10.

"He's been having a great season," Chicago's Derrek Lee said of Myers. "He pitched well, and Zambrano pitched a little bit better."

Myers did shut down Lee, stopping the first baseman's hitting streak at 18 games. He batted .455 (30-for-66) during his hot streak.

"I'll trade the streak for that win," Lee said. "Unless you're up to 40 (games), I don't put much into hitting streaks."

Perez gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead with his fourth home run leading off the fourth, driving an 0-2 pitch from Myers into the right-field bleachers. One out later, Ramirez connected on his sixth home run off an 0-1 pitch from Myers. That was all Zambrano needed.

Zambrano joined some of his teammates who shaved their heads on Saturday. Baker got into the act by shaving his mustache off on Sunday.

"My wife said, 'Remember in San Francisco when you wanted to change things, you'd shave your mustache and goatee off,'" Baker said.

Since it's Mother's Day, he listened. Whatever works.

"Like my pitching coach [Larry Rothschild] told me, when you stop the bleeding and do something like this ... you feel good and you feel like you've given your team a chance to do something tomorrow and the next day," Zambrano said. "I feel happy for that."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.