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Zambrano nabs weekly NL honor

Zambrano nabs weekly NL honor

To cap off a banner week, Carlos Zambrano was named the National League Player of the Week on Monday after tossing the Cubs' first no-hitter in over 36 years on Sunday night against the Astros in Milwaukee.

It was Zambrano's first outing in 12 days after experiencing tendinitis in his throwing shoulder and missing one start.

Zambrano allowed just one walk, striking out 10 Astros at Miller Park in the first neutral site no-hitter in Major League history. The teams had to move to Milwaukee after Hurricane Ike forced them to switch sites.

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It was the first no-hitter of Zambrano's career. Milt Pappas was the last Cubs pitcher to throw one, when he did it against the Padres in 1972.

"I'm a little confused right now," Zambrano said after the game. "I still can't believe it. It's a great feeling, and it's a feeling that you can't describe. To throw a no-hitter is good, man. This is one of the few things in baseball that you most enjoy."

Zambrano became the third Venezuelan pitcher to toss a no-hitter, following Wilson Alvarez (White Sox, 1991) and Anibal Sanchez (Marlins, 2006) and the first player to have their last name start with "Z" to throw a no-hitter.

The 27-year-old switch-hitter also helped his cause at the plate in the Cubs' 5-0 win with a single and a run scored. His hitting stats (.354, 4 HR, 14 RBIs) are as impressive as his pitching numbers (14-5, 3.41 ERA).

"He had everything going," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said of the no-hitter. "From the first few pitches of the ballgame, you knew his arm was live and the ball was coming out easy. It had good movement on it. He located for the most part the whole ballgame, and he used his split-finger and slider to keep the hitters honest. It was just a great game, and we needed that. He had been struggling. To do this, it's special. I'm very happy for him."

It is the first time of Zambrano's career he has received the weekly honor. For his efforts, Zambrano will receive an engraved luxury Swiss Tourneau timepiece.

Mike Ritter is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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