After holding the Cubs without a hit for two innings, Willis (9-2) got knocked around after a 67-minute rain delay and suffered his first loss since May 20 as the Cubs pounded the Marlins, 16-2.
Willis had won eight straight decisions over a span of 10 starts. The 21-year-old lefthander with the funky delivery was the youngest pitcher since
in 1985 to be named to the All-Star team.
"They just had my number," Willis said. "It's the flip side of having success. It's not like my side of the field was raining and (Cubs starter
's) wasn't. You have to mentally prepare for rain. You live in South Florida, where it rains often."
Zambrano (7-8) led off the third inning with a double off Willis. He fell down and could not advance on
's single but scored on the next play when
drove home Grudzielanek with an infield single,
followed with an RBI double and
' two-base hit brought home two more runs. Willis walked
before Marlins manager Jack McKeon had seen enough.
"They had their hitting shoes on," McKeon said. "Nothing we could do about it. There are going to be days like that, I don't care who you are,
or anybody. He'll rebound."
Zambrano capped the rally with an RBI single off reliever
that completed an ugly line for Willis - two-plus innings, six runs, six hits and three walks.
Zambrano had another RBI single off Phelps in the fifth. In addition to going 3-for-4, the righthander lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing a run and six hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
"When you're pitching, you have to do everything that you can do," Zambrano said. "It was a good game today. ... When you're out there with the lead, you just have to calm down. You can throw whatever you want."
The hitting display was nothing new for a Cubs pitcher.
each had three-hit games earlier in the season.
"Our pitchers are a big part of our offense," Cubs manager
said. "We've got some pitchers that can hit, and Zambrano is one of the better ones."
led off the eighth inning his 19th homer of the season - the 518th of his career - for a 10-1 lead before the Cubs scored three more runs in the frame off reliever
Sosa's homer went 484 feet, the furthest shot this season at Pro Player Stadium and the fourth-longest in the history of the park.
"I'm more relaxed at the plate and more patient," Sosa said. "I feel great because this is the second half and we're going to go very hard."
In the final two innings, Almanza allowed seven runs and six hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He also gave up a three-run homer to Gonzalez.