SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Ticker) --
helped keep the
tied for first place and push his former team farther out of the playoff picture.
Alou's two-run single in the top of the seventh inning snapped a tie and lifted the Cubs to their sixth straight victory, 4-3 over the
in the opener of the final series of the season at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.
With the bases loaded and one out in a 2-2 game, Alou bounced
's 2-0 pitch up the middle. Both second baseman
tried in vain to make a play, but neither could get to the ball as
Zambrano (13-9) survived a shaky bottom of the inning before giving way to the bullpen. He allowed two runs and five hits with three walks and five strikeouts while improving to 7-1 since the All-Star break.
"The first two innings, I felt anxious," Zambrano said. "I was pressing, but I gathered myself after that and got it together. ... After the second inning, I made adjustments and threw my game."
"Carlos threw the ball very well," Cubs manager
said. "He ran out of steam there a little bit at the end, but he pitched well for a long time before that."
tossed a scoreless eighth to bridge the gap to
, who allowed a solo homer before notching his 26th save.
Chicago remained tied for first in the National League Central Division with the
, who defeated Milwaukee for their fifth win in six games.
(7-7) took the loss, yielding four runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. It was the third straight defeat for Day, who walked one and struck out one.
"I ran out of gas, and the seventh inning was their big inning," Day said. "The last two weeks have been frustrating. Every time we make a mistake, it comes back to bite us."
Cabrera drove in two runs for the Expos, who fell eight games off the pace in the NL wild card race.
"What we have to do is win a game," Montreal manager
said. "We have a schedule to play and we have to finish as strong as possible."
Zambrano started the game-winning rally by leading off the seventh with a single. After
flied out, Grudzielanek was hit by a pitch and Almonte came on to walk Sosa. Alou followed with second base hit of the game to plate two runs.
"Day looked like he was going pretty good, but he got tired and they started to hit him," Robinson said.
Montreal grabbed an early lead as
led off the bottom of the first with a double, was sacrificed to third and scored on Cabrera's two-base hit.
But the Cubs, who improved to 4-0 on their six-game road trip, drew even in the fourth. Day hit
in the head with a pitch to start the inning and uncorked a wild pitch to advance the Chicago slugger to third.
"It was a glancing blow off the top of his head," Baker said. "Still, it's kind of frightening when you see that happen. You flash back to last month. We got out there and he was OK."
Alou grounded out, but
lifted a sacrifice fly to plate the tying run.
In the sixth,
hit the last of four consecutive singles to drive in Sosa and give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. In his last three games, Simon is 6-for-13 with three homers and eight RBI.
"The welcome I've received from the organization and
has helped me feel comfortable and improved my game," said Simon, who was acquired from Pittsburgh on August 16.
But the Expos knotted it in the bottom half when Wilkerson doubled with one out,
singled and Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly.
Borowski retired the first two batters in the ninth before pinch hitter
belted his fourth homer to pull Montreal within a run. But Wilkerson could not complete the comeback, as he flied out to center to end the game.