The Chicago Cubs offense sprung to life Wednesday night defeating the Houston Astros 9-5 after a disappointing game the night before. The Cubs stormed out of the gate and got to Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez early by putting up five runs in the first inning.
Jeff Baker drove in two runs on a double to right field before Rodriguez walked the next batter, Geovany Soto. Alfonso Soriano then hit a three run blast, his fourth homer of the year, making the score 5-0 before the Astros even had a chance to bat.
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano coasted for five straight innings without giving up a run. He also helped his own cause by hitting a solo home run in the top half of the sixth inning, extending the Cubs lead to 6-0. Zambrano now has 22 career home runs, extending his franchise record for home runs by a pitcher.
Things began to unravel though for Zambrano in the bottom of the sixth as the Astros tagged him for five runs, cutting the Cubs lead to one run. Cubs manager Mike Quade then pulled Zambrano after 5 2/3 innings pitched. Once Quade made the call to the bullpen, Zambrano quickly walked off the mound before Quade could meet him to get the ball.
Zambrano has had anger problems in the past but assured everyone that anger wasn’t an issue last night.
“I went to the office after the game and I apologized to Mike,” Zambrano said. “I didn’t mean nothing. Believe me. The last thing that I want to do this year is disrespect the manager. I’ve never had a problem with a manager. It was my mistake. Next time I will wait more. In fact, I will wait for the reliever too so there’s no problem.”
Quade also brushed off the incident and jokingly said “I didn’t get there quick enough.”
Marcos Mateo relieved Zambrano and got Astros batter Jason Michaels to foul out, ending the inning. The Cubs bullpen remained strong for the rest of the game, getting solid outings from Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol.
The Cubs offense added three more runs in the top of the ninth off of Astros relief pitcher Wilton Lopez. Darwin Barney and Aramis Ramirez both had RBIs making the score, an eventual final, 9-5.
The Cubs have an off day Thursday before starting a weekend series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.