LIVE: Cubs-Padres still scoreless at Wrigley

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LIVE: Cubs-Padres still scoreless at Wrigley

Monday, April 18, 2011Posted: 12:00 PM

Associated Press

Carlos Zambrano has been far from stellar this season, but he still has not lost since June.

The right-hander looks to continue his undefeated run when the Chicago Cubs open a three-game set with the San Diego Padres on Monday night at Wrigley Field.

While Zambrano (2-0, 6.11 ERA) has allowed 12 runs over 17 2-3 innings in his three starts, he's received six runs of support in each of the last two. He gave up five runs in 5 2-3 innings but helped his cause with a solo homer in Chicago's 9-5 win at Houston on Wednesday.

"There are a lot of reasons you win and lose ball games, so there were more reasons for us to win because the club (picks) up Z," manager Mike Quade said.

The three-time All-Star has fared well since being put on the suspended list for a dugout tirade during a loss to the White Sox on June 25, which was also the last time he lost a decision. After a brief stint in the bullpen upon his return, Zambrano is 10-0 with a 2.35 ERA in 14 starts.

Zambrano has rarely had a problem with the Padres, going 7-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 12 starts. He went 1-0 in two starts versus San Diego in 2010, allowing one run over 13 innings.

The Cubs (7-8) hope Zambrano will put them in position to bounce back from Sunday's 9-5 loss at Colorado to conclude a 4-5 trip. Chicago has alternated wins and losses in its last six games.

"We've got some things to clean up, for sure," manager Mike Quade said. "But as far as effort - our guys are playing and getting after it. I'm very optimistic about this club getting better."

Starlin Castro went 7 for 9 with four RBIs in the weekend's last two games to raise his average to .418. The 21-year-old shortstop will try to perform better against the Padres than he did as a rookie last season, when he hit .214 with seven strikeouts in 28 at-bats versus San Diego.

Teammate Marlon Byrd is 1 for 19 over the last four games, but batted .348 in his last six against the Padres in 2010.

The Padres (7-8) will try for a fifth straight win at Wrigley after sweeping a four-game set there Aug. 16-19.

San Diego improved to 4-3 on the road this season Sunday, winning 8-6 to salvage a split of a four-game set in Houston.

Jorge Cantu had a home run and three RBIs and catcher Nick Hundley also homered to help the Padres score more than four runs for only the second time in seven games. Five of San Diego's seven wins have come by either one or two runs.

"I don't know what it is, maybe we were playing a big uphill battle," said closer Heath Bell, who converted his 38th straight save Sunday. "We've got to fight and scratch and claw for every win right now."

Hundley is batting .348 this season, but .115 in eight career games versus Chicago.

Padres' opening day starter Tim Stauffer (0-1, 4.80) takes the mound after he allowed two runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 3-2 win over Cincinnati on Wednesday.

The right-hander has lost both of his career starts against the Cubs - in 2005 and 2010 - but did not receive a single run of support in either outing.

Chicago's series against the Rockies began a stretch of 19 straight games against NL West opponents.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

Despite the Cubs ending their 108-year World Series drought, Miguel Montero made offseason headlines for all the wrong reasons when he complained about his role in the Cubs' 2017 championship campaign.

Montero criticized Maddon's communication skills, catching rotation and bullpen decision-making after the team's Grant Park celebration. Maddon brushed off the criticism, and last week at spring training Montero said he hadn't spoke with the Cubs' skipper.

That tension appears to be all but a thing of the past, as Montero posted this picture of him and his manager sharing a drink together sporting nothing but smiles.

It's safe to say Montero would describe his relationship with Maddon now as: #WeAreGood.

Addison Russell planning to become next Cubs superstar

Addison Russell planning to become next Cubs superstar

MESA, Ariz. – Addison Russell earned his manager’s trust by playing “boring” defense, always making the routine plays at shortstop with textbook fundamentals. Even Russell’s agent called him an “old soul,” already serious about his craft and driven by quiet determination and husband-and-father responsibilities.

But the Cubs also know Russell as a moonwalking showman with the freaky athleticism to do Ozzie Smith backflips and make spectacular highlight-reel plays. And you could see the vroom-vroom, fist-pumping celebrations after yet another clutch hit.

“Ever since I was a little kid,” Russell said, “I always wanted to be on the big screen.”

Now Russell will try to make the leap to superstar, as one of the many personalities on a Cubs team that can crossover nationally and live forever in Chicago, just like the ’85 Bears, the way Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo have built their brands.

“We got great ballplayers, beautiful faces on this team,” Russell said. “Just talent galore in this clubhouse, and that’s really cool to see, because these guys handle themselves like real, true professionals.”

The start of spring training is a reminder that Russell has still only spent one wire-to-wire season in The Show. He turned 23 last month and has already become a World Series champion, the youngest player in franchise history to start an All-Star Game and the first Cub shortstop to reach 95 RBI since Ernie Banks in 1960.

Russell’s World Series grand slam helped him accumulate the most postseason RBI (14) in club history – after putting up 11 game-winning RBI for a 103-win team. FanGraphs also had Russell tying San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford for the major-league lead with 19 defensive runs saved at shortstop.

“Really, the sky’s the limit,” manager Joe Maddon said. “This guy is scratching the surface. He is that good. Know thyself – I think that’s what’s happening with a lot of our young guys. They’re understanding themselves better. And as they do, their game’s going to continue to improve.

“So with Addie, listen, he could be an annual All-Star, there’s no question. Beyond that, he’s just such a gifted athlete, so quick, and he cares so much. And he’s really turned out to be a good self-evaluator, so all those are components to creating a superstar.”

Russell said he’s working with Boras Corp. on potential endorsements with Pepsi and Audi. He visited a Nike headquarters in Oregon to help design his custom cleats and custom glove. He also posted images from the White House on his social-media accounts, which have nearly 549,000 followers combined between Twitter and Instagram.

“The opportunities are coming, which is great,” Russell said. “It’s a whole new playing field. I’m glad that I’m getting to see a different side of baseball, where I can actually find a couple talents off the baseball field. It’s all interesting stuff.”

It’s also taken some getting used to, as he almost had trouble remembering how many “Addison Russell Days” there were in Florida, between events at Pace High School and with the Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners.

“This whole fame thing is really new to me,” Russell said. “Walking everywhere, people want autographs and stuff. Different airports, different cities, it’s very humbling. It’s a great blessing. I’m just a small-town guy, so it hit me pretty hard.”

Like the moment Russell realized what the Cubs just did, after the whirlwind of riding in the championship parade down Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue, standing on stage in front of millions at the Grant Park rally and going to Disney World.

“I remember this past offseason, going into my mom’s room and laying down on her bed,” Russell said. “That’s when all the memories of this past year – all the way from spring training (to) the All-Star Game and then the World Series run – it all hit me at once. It was overbearing, kind of, and I started crying.

“That’s when it sunk in. It was just a magical moment.”