Zambrano silences Cards

Thursday, April 21, 2005
Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano was safe with an RBI triple as the ball went past Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen on Wednesday.

ST. LOUIS -- Carlos Zambrano came within one out of a complete game and drove in a run with his first career triple, helping the Chicago Cubs overcome an injury to Nomar Garciaparra in a 3-1 victory over St. Louis on Wednesday night.

The loss ended the Cardinals' five-game winning streak.

Garciaparra injured his left groin leaving the batter's box on a double-play grounder in the third. The team said Garciaparra, batting .157 and bumped from third to sixth in the batting order for the game, likely will have an MRI exam on Thursday.

Albert Pujols hit his fourth home run for the Cardinals, who mostly were silenced in front of a sellout crowd of 44,855 at the start of an eight-game homestand. They had outscored the opposition 29-7 during a perfect five-game trip to Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.

St. Louis was limited to one hit in the first five innings and threatened only in the sixth with three hits, although David Eckstein was easily thrown out at second by Michael Barrett when he led off with his second hit of the game and tried to steal.

Zambrano (2-0) gave up five hits in 8 2/3 innings. Although he's only 1-1 in St. Louis, he has allowed only two earned runs in 28 innings.

After Scott Rolen doubled with two outs in the ninth, Zambrano left with a blister on his index finger. LaTroy Hawkins then retired John Mabry on a drive to the center-field wall, getting his third save.

Zambrano is 5-for-12 at the plate this year with a double, a triple and two RBIs. His triple off Jeff Suppan (1-2) in the second scooted through wet grass and past center fielder Jim Edmonds to the wall in left-center, scoring Barrett from first.

After the start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 22 minutes by rain, Chicago won for the fourth time in five games.

Derrek Lee was 3-for-4 with two doubles and scored twice after moving into Garciaparra's vacated third spot. Aramis Ramirez and Jeromy Burnitz drove in a run apiece, and Todd Hollandsworth and Barrett each had two hits.

Suppan threw 106 pitches in 6 1/3 innings and gave up three runs -- two earned -- and nine hits.

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