Cubs win two of three in series

CHICAGO (AP) -- Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano was dizzy with a

headache before he took the mound against the Oakland Athletics.

He felt much better afterward.

The Chicago right-hander allowed one run on five hits in 6 2-3

innings, striking out eight in Chicago's 5-3 win over Oakland on

Sunday. Zambrano left to a standing ovation after lowering his ERA

to 2.25 -- second-best in the NL behind Tom Glavine.

"I was feeling tired at that point," the 23-year-old said.

"That was enough for me. I wasn't feeling good today. I was

feeling good throwing the ball, but I was sick."

Not that the Athletics could tell.

Zambrano struggled with his control, but Oakland never could

break through. He walked consecutive batters in the third inning,

walked the leadoff man in the fourth and hit the leadoff batter

with a fastball in fifth. None of the runners scored.

The Athletics threatened in the fourth with runners on first and

second and one out when Zambrano got Marco Scutaro to pop out to

right. He then struck out Barry Zito looking with an outside


Zambrano has won four straight decisions and has allowed two or

fewer runs in 11 of 14 starts this season.

"He's got a lot of movement on his pitches," Oakland manager

Ken Macha said. "I was watching the catcher, it looked like he had

a tough time catching a bunch of those pitches. He can throw 97

(mph) and has great command of his breaking ball. Who is his


The Cubs took two of three from Oakland in the first

regular-season meeting between the clubs. Chicago has won eight of

nine to move two games behind first-place St. Louis in the NL


The Cubs and Cardinals begin a three-game series Tuesday.

"It's a lot of fun. Especially now that we're playing good

baseball," Derrek Lee said. "I think it will continue to get even

better if we continue to play like this."

The Cubs first baseman was 3-for-3 with a homer in the eighth

for Chicago. Lee has 11 hits in his last 14 at-bats and has reached

base safely in 11 consecutive plate appearances.

"June has always been a good month for me. I don't know why --

nothing like this, ever," Lee said. "It's just one of those

stretches where you ride it out and take advantage of it, because

it definitely doesn't last forever."

Kent Mercker got one out in the seventh, Kyle Farnsworth threw a

scoreless eighth and LaTroy Hawkins allowed Eric Byrnes' RBI single

and Mark McLemore's run-scoring double in the ninth.

Moises Alou lined a two-run homer off Zito in the first inning,

hitting it just inside the left-field pole to score Todd Walker for

a 2-0 Cubs lead. It was Alou's 17th home run, just five fewer than

he had all of last season.

Aramis Ramirez drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added another run on Corey Patterson's RBI double to

right in a rough first inning for Zito. The Oakland left-hander

needed 39 pitches to get out of the first.

Zito (4-4) lasted just five innings and was taken out after

throwing 110 pitches. He allowed four runs on seven hits and three

walks, striking out two and hitting a batter.

"Barry was struggling with his command, particularly his

curveball," Macha said. "He had a 2-0 pitch to Alou, a fastball

hitter, and he hit it right out of there.

"Overall, we'd like him to go further into the game."

The Athletics cut the deficit to 3-1 when Jermaine Dye led off

the second with a double down the right-field line and scored on

Scott Hatteberg's double. Hatteberg advanced to third with one out,

but Zambrano struck out Adam Melhuse and Scutaro swinging to end

the threat.

Mark McLemore finished 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI for

Oakland, and Adam Melhuse went 2-for-4 with two singles.Game notes
Dye's double in the second was the 200th of his career. ...

McLemore was back in the lineup and hitting third after missing the

last two games to be with his mother, who was having surgery in

Dallas. ... Zambrano made a spectacular play in the third inning,

bare-handing Byrnes' grounder toward third and making an

off-balance throw to first for the out. ... Dye lost a high flyball

in the sun in the fifth, allowing Walker to advance to third with a

leadoff triple.