Carlos Zambrano finally broke is his opening day winless streak when the Cubs beat the Houston Astros Monday night 4-2. Zambrano went six plus innings, giving up one run on five hits and striking out six.
Milton Bradley, Kosuke Fukodome and Derek Lee went 0-for-4. Alfonso Soriano connected lead-off home run number 50. Aramis Ramirez also hit a solo shot. One of the not-so-big surprises was Mike Fontenot who went 3 for 4 and scoring twice.
New closer Kevin Gregg got the save after giving up a run in the bottom of the nineth.
I seriously hope either WGN or CSN will replay the game because I so want to see this game and record to save for all prosperity. Seriously folks, from the highlights I saw on ESPN, Zambrano looked awesome and looked like his old self.
According to what was said on the radio this morning, Larrry Rothschild spoke with Big Z about his pitching mechanics and apparently, Z had been throwing with his shoulder, instead of using his legs as his power source. What a change in mechanics makes, because Z just confused the Astros at the plate.
I will give the ‘Stros the benefit of the doubt. It was probably a task to get out of Houston in order to travel to Miller Park in time for the game on Sunday. And my heart goes out to them and their friends in the Houston area as the region continues to recover from Hurricane Ike.
In the post-game interview, Cubs manager, Lou Piniella couldn’t have been happier. They were going to lo limit Zambrano to a 100-pitch count. But there was no way Piniella was going to yank his ace.
Zambrano and the Cubs never let up. Alfonso Soriano connected for his 28th home run of the season in the first. The Cubs scored four more runs in the third. After that, it was the Zambrano show with the 22,000 plus crowed chanting “Let’s Go Z!”
About the only thing that frustrated the Cubs ace was his at-bat in the seventh ininning. In most situation, the pitcher would break his bat across his team.
“I was feeling too good to do that,” Zambrano said with a smirk. “I saw Lou’s face. I said, ‘No, not today.'”
As the game progressed, it became more apparent that something special was happening.
“I was watching the scoreboard every inning,” Zambrano said. “In the ninth inning, when I came out the crowd was all crazy and that helped me a little bit. Thank God, it was the eight, nine and the leadoff hitter [in the ninth] and I was able to dominate those three guys.”
The team just hoped Zambrano would give them a solid outting.
“I didn’t expect it,” Chicago’s Derrek Lee said. “I expected him to try to give us five or six innings and get out of there. But, wow. He obviously was feeling good, throwing the ball like that. That’s a huge lift for us.”
Zambrano threw 110 pitches, striking out 10 and walking one.
With the win on Sunday, the Cubs increased their lead over the Brewers to seven-and-a-half games after the Brewers were swept by the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cubs magic number is now seven. The Brewers and the Phillies are tied for the wild card with Houston two games in back.
What’s more unique about this no-hitter, is that it was played a neutral location. Hurricane Ike had already played havoc with the games on Friday and Saturday, but it became apparent on Saturday that there was no way the games could be played in Houston on Sunday. Houston Astros General Manager Drayton McLane was adament about being able to play one day after a major hurricane ravaged the Houston area.
This was the first no-hitter played a neutral site.
Miller Park is considered Wrigley North and that may have helped Zambrano along the way. Though, anyone who was there got to see history made.It’s not everyday a no-hitter gets tossed.
The Cubs play the second game today at Miller Park at 2:05 p.m. (Eastern). Jason Marquis (10-8) takes the mound for the Cubs. Brian Moehler (11-6) goes to the mound for the Astros. The game can be seen on CSN. The final game (if necessary) will be played at the end of the season at Minute Maid Park.
Quotes from MLB.COM
Carlos Zambrano threw a no-hitter against
the Houston Astros!
It didn’t happen until late last night, but at least some sanity came back into the world when the Astros finally agreed to move the series to a neutral (or not-so-neutral if Mike Loretta has his way) site.
Either city managers in Houston told Drayton McLane he was being dellusional or common sense finally sunk in. Doesn’t matter, at least two of the three games will be played at Miller Park starting at 8:05 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday.
The second game will be played at 2:05 p.m. (EDT) on Monday.
The third game has yet to be determined (more than likely, will be played at the end of the season if needed).
On Wednesday, MLB announced that the game for the Cubs-Astros series would be moved up to 1:05 p.m. (CDT) because of Hurricane Ike. The next day, they decided to play a double header on Sunday with the final game on Monday.
Are you frakking kidding me? Galveston, along with Houston had a big huge bullseye on their heads with Ike moving in over the weekend.
This is what the GM of the Astros had to say:
“This could be the biggest series in the history of this season,” McLane told the Houston Chronicle. “And the fans would be a tremendously inspirational force for our players. And I didn’t want our players to be away from their families.
Your fans? You dumba$$. Your city just got hammered by a category 2 hurricane. Over three million people are without power. Homes have been swept out to sea. There’s probably deaths and you’re worried about keeping your fans happy?
Notice to Astros fans: Your GM is the biggest jerk on the face of the freaking planet.
What moron in their right mind would hold out hope that a series would be played just one day after a major hurricane.
What the hell is this world coming too.
I don’t blame the Cubs for being mad. I don’t blame Hendry for being pissed off. I’m pissed off.
HOUSTON—THIS IS WAR! I hope you lose the next 10 games and make the wild-card unattainable for this tom foolery! You could have swept the Cubs and hoped that Philly beat the Brewers and you’d be tied for the wild card.
But no! Your GM had to put the power of the almighty dollar in the face of human suffering. What a swell guy!