ran into few problems against the
. Trying to get a seventh inning out of
is where his success ended.
Zambrano won for the first time since July 22 by limiting the slumping-again Pirates to two runs over six innings, and the
Cubs finished off a three-game sweep by beating Pittsburgh 8-5 on Wednesday.
Playing before a sparse crowd that was announced at 10,899 but looked - and sounded - like it was much smaller, the Cubs won
their sixth in a row against the Pirates, who completed a 1-5 homestand.
homered against former Cubs pitcher
(4-6), drove in two runs, scored three times and was among five Cubs batters with two hits. Chicago has won 26 of 32 from
The first two games of the series featured the Pirates setting a major league record on Monday by assuring themselves of a
17th consecutive losing season and the Cubs tying a record with eight successive hits to begin Tuesday night's game.
No streaks in this one - just a lively conversation as Piniella replaced Zambrano after the right-hander warmed up to start
the seventh. When the Pirates brought up the left-handed hitting
, Piniella decided to bring in left-hander
The hard part for Piniella was telling Zambrano, who clearly didn't want to leave. Zambrano and Piniella had an animated talk
on the mound that continued in the dugout.
''I wanted to pitch another inning but it's Lou's decision,'' said Zambrano, who struck out eight and gave up five hits. ''You
saw the replay, everybody thought I was arguing but we were just talking. Every time Lou talks it seems like he's mad, the
way he moves his hands, but he's not. He's very professional.''
Zambrano was sidelined recently for three weeks by back spasms, and Piniella was satisfied with his 98-pitch outing.
''Like I told him, let's get built (up), let's get you stronger and stronger,'' Piniella said. ''That was the conversation
on the mound. I told him, 'Next time if you want, we won't warm anybody up and we'll let you pitch nine innings.' ''
Zambrano (8-6) was 0-2 in his previous five starts and hadn't won since beating the Phillies 10-5 on July 22. But he's usually
good for a win against the Pirates, going 4-0 as the Cubs have won seven of his last eight starts against them. Zambrano is
7-1 in 13 career starts in PNC Park.
It may be too late to save the Cubs' season, but Zambrano still has time to get something out of a second half of the season
he calls ''horrible.''
''Professionally, for me, it's been miserable,'' he said. ''I think I only have to win. This is my first year I've been so
poor in the second half. (I'm) just trying to finish the season strong.''
Again, the Pirates (54-84) aren't.
Now 30 games under .500, they are careening toward a fifth consecutive 90-loss season and their seventh since 2000. They have
lost 12 of 13, the second time they've done that while going 9-26 since Aug. 2.
Hart, dealt to the Pirates by Chicago in the
trade in July, walked six while giving up four runs and six hits in five innings. After going 3-1 with the Cubs, he is 1-5
in seven starts with Pittsburgh as he struggles to make mechanical adjustments between starts.
''I'm going to stay positive,'' Hart said. ''I've gone through stretches like this before, in the minor leagues, and came
out on top and I'm not going to let it beat me.''
Helped by four walks by Hart, the Cubs scored solo runs in each of the first three innings.
added a two-run single in the seventh against
The Cubs led 8-2 until the eighth, when former Cubs shortstop
hit a three-run homer off
for his third hit.
pitched the ninth inning for his 11th save in 15 opportunities.
NOTES: Karstens, out since Aug. 25 with a lower back strain, was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list. .. Cubs LF
collided with a wall in foul territory trying to run down
' fly ball in the fifth, but stayed in the game. ... Pirates 2B
is hitless in 21 at-bats.