The last time Carlos Zambrano took the mound at U.S. Cellular Field, he lasted one inning and was removed from the game by manager Lou Piniella after a rant in the dugout. On Monday Zambrano struggled through the first inning again, but got through it with no need for anger management and lead the Cubs (30-42) to a 6-3 win over the White Sox (35-39).
Zambrano gave up an RBI single to Carlos Quentin and a two-run homerun to Paul Konerko,his 20th of the season, in the first inning but rebounded to give the Cubs eight strong innings. The Cubs righty gave up seven hits and struckout five while improving his record to 6-4 on the season.
The Cubs offense bailed Zambrano out after a shaky first inning. Starlin Castro drove in two on a single in the third inning bringing the Cubs to within a run. Castro then tied the game at three in the sixth with his second homer of the season. Carlos Pena’s three-run homer gave the Cubs the lead for good when he took a Gavin Floyd pitch for a ride to the right field bleachers.
Gavin Floyd struggled in the series opener. Floyd was given a three-run lead but couldn’t hold it as he gave up six runs on five hits in five innings. The Sox righty fell to 6-7 on the season.
Carlos Marmol once again made things interesting in the ninth inning. Marmol put two runners on with one out in the ninth, but was able to retire Mark Teahen and Juan Pierre to earn his 15th save of the season.
The Sox and Cubs will meet again in game two of the series Tuesday evening.