Cubs, Zambrano continue series vs. D'Backs

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Cubs, Zambrano continue series vs. D'Backs

Friday, April 29, 2011
Posted: 12:17 p.m.

Associated Press

Ryan Dempster had a first-inning meltdown during the Chicago Cubs' series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Carlos Zambrano's personal-best winning streak came to an end thanks to a similar situation during his most recent outing.

Looking to bounce back, Zambrano takes the mound for the visiting Cubs as they continue a four-game set with the Diamondbacks on Friday night.

Dempster gave up seven runs and lasted a career-low one-third of an inning in Thursday's 11-2 loss at Arizona (11-13) - Chicago's season-worst fourth straight and sixth in seven games.

"That was not how I drew it up," said Dempster, as the ERA of the Cubs' starting rotation increased to a major league-worst 6.39.

Chicago, (10-14), averaging 2.8 runs during its skid, has scored three runs or fewer in seven of 10 games.

Aramis Ramirez had hit safely in 11 of 12 contests prior to going 0 for 3 Thursday, dropping his average to .314. Carlos Pena, signed in the offseason to provide some power in the middle of the lineup, went hitless in four at-bats and is 1 for 21 (.048) over his last seven games.

Pena, who had averaged 36 home runs over the previous four seasons with Tampa Bay, has failed to go deep in his first 21 games.

Meanwhile, Zambrano (2-1, 5.28 ERA), who went 10-0 from Aug. 14-April 18, saw his impressive run end with Sunday's 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed season worsts of six runs - five in the first frame - and eight hits over five innings.

"Pitching in the first inning wasn't good. My sinker was not good, but other than that I was able to throw five innings," Zambrano said. "I knew sooner or later I was going to lose a game, unfortunately it was (Friday).

"I enjoyed the winning streak a lot, but it's over with. Let's get another win on my next time and I'll be ready for that."

The right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.65 ERA over five career starts against Arizona, all on the road. While Zambrano has won eight straight starts as the visiting pitcher dating to last season and recorded a 2.56 ERA, he's given up nine runs in 11 2-3 innings over two outings away from Wrigley Field in 2011.

He'll also face a Diamondbacks offense thriving at home.

Arizona has won four of five at Chase Field and leads the NL with 81 runs at home. They reached double digits for the fourth time Thursday thanks largely to Stephen Drew and Miguel Montero.

Drew went 3 for 5 and hit his first-career grand slam en route to a career-best five RBIs. Montero also homered and drove in three.

Drew is batting .333 in his last 12 games against the Cubs while Montero is hitting .391 over a six-game hitting streak in the series.

Diamondbacks scheduled starter Armando Galarraga (3-1, 6.00), whose eight home runs allowed are the second most in the NL behind Dempster's nine, had won his first three starts of the year before surrendering six runs - two earned - and a season-worst four walks in three innings of Sunday's 8-4 loss at the New York Mets.

"Armando didn't throw the ball like he wanted to," manager Kirk Gibson said of the right-hander, who is 2-0 lifetime against the Cubs despite a 5.54 ERA.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Preview: Cubs aim for sweep tonight on CSN

Preview: Cubs aim for sweep tonight on CSN

The Cubs take on the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

First pitch with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies is scheduled for 6 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jon Lester (0-0, 2.66 ERA) vs. Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.94 ERA)

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Kyle Hendricks outduels Gerrit Cole in Cubs win

Kyle Hendricks outduels Gerrit Cole in Cubs win

PITTSBURGH (AP) Kyle Hendricks rediscovered his 2016 form, limiting the Pittsburgh Pirates to four hits over six innings to outduel Gerrit Cole and lead the Chicago Cubs to a 1-0 win on Tuesday night.

Hendricks (2-1) struck out two and walked three in easily his best start this year. The struggling Pirates managed just four singles off Hendricks and didn't reach third base until he was out of the game. Wade Davis worked a perfect ninth for his fifth save as the Cubs won for the sixth time in seven games.

Addison Russell doubled in the second off Cole (1-3) and scored when second baseman Alen Hanson airmailed first base on a Jason Heyward grounder, the Pirates' major league-high 20th error this season. They've also allowed 15 unearned runs, the most in the big leagues.

The miscue spoiled a terrific outing by Cole. He struck out eight without issuing a walk and retired 14 of his final 15 batters. It wasn't enough for Pittsburgh, which has lost six of eight.

Hendricks became the first Cubs pitcher in nearly 80 years to lead the majors in ERA last year (2.13) but entered at 6.19 after three lackluster starts. It dropped to 4.50 after he spent six innings keeping the Pirates off balance with a steady diet of breaking balls and changeups .

It was the second straight strong start for the defending World Series champions, who have spent the last week riding their offense to shake out of an early pitching funk. The Cubs' pitching did the heavy lifting while Cole dominated the highest-scoring team in the majors.

Russell's double and a two-out infield hit by Kris Bryant in the sixth was all the Cubs managed against the Pittsburgh ace, who is hoping to put an injury plagued 2016 behind him. After giving up five runs in a loss to Boston on opening day, Cole has surrendered just seven runs over his last 25 innings, a 2.52 ERA.

Pittsburgh had a chance to tie the score when John Jaso led off the seventh with a double against Koji Uehara. Jaso advanced to third on a fly ball but was stranded when Hanson struck out and pinch-hitter Jose Osuna flied to center.