San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Blake DeWitt drove in the only run of the game, and Carlos Marmol survived a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to lift the Cubs over the playoff-minded Padres, 1-0, in the opener of a four-game series.
Carlos Zambrano (10-6) remained unbeaten since returning to the rotation in early August, allowing a mere three hits and four walks while fanning five in seven scoreless innings for Chicago, which had lost four of six coming in.
"I still have confidence in myself, and all of my pitches are working right now," Zambrano said.
Tim Stauffer (5-5) gave up one run on five hits and a pair of walks in seven frames to take the loss, dropping San Diego a game back of the NL West-leading Giants and a half-game behind the Braves in the wild card race.
Neither team threatened seriously in the early going. The Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs in the fifth, but David Eckstein stole a hit away from Kosuke Fukudome with a diving stop to his right to get a force out at second.
The visitors were able to get scratch a run across in the seventh, though, as Alfonso Soriano doubled with one away and came around on DeWitt's base hit up the middle.
"I'd like to have a couple of pitches back in the seventh inning. They just put some good swings on a couple of mistake pitches," Stauffer said.
Zambrano worked around a pair of walks in the bottom half, Sean Marshall hurled a 1-2-3 eighth, and Marmol closed the door in an entertaining ninth for his 35th save of the season.
The flame-thrower struck out the first two hitters before Yorvit Torrealba beat out an infield single. Pinch-runner Everth Cabrera stole second, and Chase Headley was hit by a pitch, though replay showed the ball did not carom off his foot as perceived by home plate umpire Greg Gibson.
Tony Gwynn Jr. then walked to fill the bags, only to have pinch-hitter Nick Hundley fly out several feet in front of the warning track in left to end the game.
The Padres have not scored since getting a pair of runs in the second inning of Sunday's 12-2 loss to Cincinnati.
DeWitt and Marlon Byrd each had three of Chicago's seven hits...Zambrano is 7-0 in 10 starts since August 9 and has allowed two runs or less in each outing...The Cubs are 4-2 in 1-0 games this year, compared to San Diego's 6-3 mark...Chicago has won seven straight on the road...Miguel Tejada went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.