After getting roughed up by the Dodgers this past Sunday to start the losing skid, Carlos Zambrano had a nice bounce back appearance to put an end to the four game losing streak. The Cubs ace led off the game by issuing a walk, and one out later he served up a home run to promptly put the Cubs down 2-0. Despite allowing three walks and racking up only two strike outs, Big Z battled through his outing to give the Cubs six innings of work. Thanks to Alfonso Soriano in the top of the 7th inning, Zambrano was in line for the “W” despite being lifted for Kerry Wood in the bottom half of the frame.
The effort by Zambrano allowed manager Mike Quade to line up his bullpen perfectly. Wood held the Diamondbacks scoreless in his inning of work as he nursed the slim one run lead at the time, picking up his fifth hold of the season. Sean Marshall followed suit with a scoreless frame to protect the 4-2 lead in the 8th inning for his seventh hold of the season, and closer Carlos Marmol turned off the lights in the 9th inning to send the Cubs fans in attendance home happy, notching his sixth save of 2011. When the starting pitching is going right, this is the picture perfect formula of relievers Quade wants to trot out to the mound to seal victories.
The win on Friday night represented an all around team effort. On the defensive side, Kosuke Fukudome made a nice diving catch in right field despite going 0 for 5 at the plate from the lead off spot. The Cubs did not commit any errors.
On offense, the Cubs flexed some muscle last night. Soriano and Geo Soto teamed up for back to back jacks in the top of the 5th inning to tie the game at 2-2. In the 7th inning, Soriano went deep again to put the Cubs up 3-2. The Cubs left fielder is usually criticized for only hitting meaningless home runs in blow out games, but on Friday night his two pack of home runs came up huge for the team. The slugger now has nine homers on the season, tying his career high for the month of April. The growing fan favorite Darwin Barney led of the 8th inning with his second triple of the season, and he came home to score the insurance run on an Aramis Ramirez groundball.
Manager Mike Quade continues to juggle the line up as he tries to find a consistent mix that will provide results. Starlin Castro found himself in the three hole again, and thankfully he put Jeff Baker in at first over Carlos Pena. Baker provided the protection for Ramirez, and went 2 for 3.