CINCINNATI (AP) — Carlos Zambrano homered and pitched into the seventh inning to earn his 100th career victory as the Chicago Cubs beat the slumping Cincinnati Reds 2-1 on Friday night.
Zambrano didn't allow a hit until Adam Rosales lined a single to left with one out in the fifth inning.
Zambrano gave up two hits and a season-high five walks in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out seven while reaching the milestone in his third try since beating Florida on May 3 for win No. 99. Since then, he spent 19 days on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, lost at San Diego and was suspended six games for an altercation with plate umpire Mark Carlson on May 27 in Chicago.
His return was delayed one more day by rain that washed out his scheduled start Thursday in Atlanta.
The Cubs pushed across a run in the first on Ryan Theriot's one-out infield hit — one of his two hits after going 1 for 10 on he road trip with three walks.
Zambrano (4-2), who struck out the side in the first, hit his second home run of the season and 18th of his career on Micah Owings' first pitch of the fifth inning, extending the Cubs' lead to 2-0.
After allowing his first hit in the bottom of the fifth, the right-hander struck out Owings before right fielder Micah Hoffpauir made a tumbling catch of Jerry Hairston Jr.'s drive to the warning track to end the inning.
Zambrano also helped his cause with some alert defense. He covered first base on Brandon Phillips' foul pop near the first base stands in the sixth inning. First baseman Derrek Lee caught the ball and threw to Zambrano to double Chris Dickerson off of first.
In the seventh, with Jay Bruce on first and one out, Zambrano made a juggling catch of Alex Gonzalez's line drive up the middle. Zambrano was replaced by right-hander Angel Guzman after walking the next batter.
Owings (3-7) left after allowing five hits and two runs with three walks and a season high-tying six strikeouts in six innings.
Phillips broke up the shutout with a one-out RBI triple off of reliever Carlos Marmol in the eighth inning, snapping Cincinnati's streak of consecutive scoreless innings at 16. Marmol recovered to get Laynce Nix to pop up. Ramon Hernandez walked, but Bruce grounded out to strand Phillips at third with the potential tying run.
The Reds got another potential tying run to third base with two outs in the ninth. Wilkin Castillo, pinch-running for Ryan Hanigan, went from first to third when closer Kevin Gregg threw a wild pitch on a strikeout of Hairston, but Dickerson popped out to third baseman Mike Fontenot to give Gregg his 10th save in 12 opportunities.
Notes: The only .300 hitter in Cincinnati's starting lineup was Owings, who was hitting exactly .300. The best-hitting position player was LF Layne Nix (.288). ... LHP Matt Maloney will make his major league debut as the Reds starting pitcher Saturday. ... Reds RF Bruce snapped a streak of consecutive hitless at-bats at 17 with a bouncing single up the middle in the seventh inning. ... Reds CF Dickerson made diving catches to end Chicago's eighth and ninth innings.
by the associated press