Cubs sink Pirates after Zambrano is forced out of game for arguing call

CHICAGO -- Carlos Zambrano's tantrum kept escalating. The emotional ace of the Chicago Cubs went wild, throwing a ball into the outfield, heaving his glove and then whacking a dugout drink dispenser with a bat.

It was an outpouring of anger Wednesday that likely will lead to a suspension for the excitable right-hander.

As he argued a close play at the plate, Zambrano appeared to nudge umpire Mark Carlson and was ejected. That set off the 6-foot-5, 255-pound right-hander in the seventh inning of the Cubs' 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I overexaggerated after that play to throw the ball and to do the other things, you know," Zambrano said after the game. "Hopefully MLB will review the play and we'll see what happens."

With the Cubs leading 2-1 and Zambrano closing in on his 100th career win, Nyjer Morgan led off the seventh with a single to left and went to third when the ball got by Alfonso Soriano for a two-base error.

When a Zambrano wild pitch bounded a short distance from catcher Geovany Soto, the speedy Morgan broke for the plate. Zambrano went to cover and took the throw. Morgan slid as Zambrano blocked the plate and Carlson called him safe.

Zambrano jumped up, argued the call and appeared to make contact with Carlson, prompting the ejection. He then pointed in Carlson's face and gave him the ejection sign.

Zambrano wasn't finished. He threw a ball into left, slammed his glove against a dugout fence and whacked the drink dispenser on his way to the clubhouse.

"I apologize to him. Like I say, after he kicked me out, I should have gone to the clubhouse and kept watching the game," Zambrano said. "I apologize to throw the ball and do other things.

"I should have control of myself in that situation."

Carlson was not available for comment after the game. It was the Cubs' second run-in with the crew in the series. Lefty Ted Lilly was ejected Monday by Bob Davidson from a game in which he wasn't even pitching after questioning a ball-strike call from the dugout.

Earlier this season, outfielder Milton Bradley was suspended after an angry dispute with Larry Vanover. The suspension was later reduced from two games to one.

"I'm the only calm, cool, collected one around here it seems," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella who's been known to throw bases and kick dirt during tantrums. "Just kidding."

Piniella said he would meet with Zambrano on Thursday.

"He's got to tone it down a little," Piniella said. "He cares, but gosh you can argue a little bit, get your point across to the umpire that he thought the runner was out and just get back and go out and pitch."

Morgan said he was safe because he beat Soto's throw by getting his arm in before Zambrano tagged him.

"I just reacted and just ran," Morgan said. "I was still safe. I don't know which hand it was. I was in there way before the ball got there."

Reed Johnson hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth and the Cubs added two more when Andres Blanco and Jake Fox hit back-to-back RBI doubles on the day they were promoted from the minors.

Zambrano allowed seven hits in 6 1/3 innings and got a no-decision in his second start after coming off the DL.

Carlos Marmol (1-1) worked the eighth and Kevin Gregg got three outs for his seventh save in eight chances.

Pirates starter Zach Duke gave up two runs and eight hits in seven innings.

Chicago pushed across two runs in the first. Bradley hit an RBI triple and came around to score on Johnson's fielder's choice.

The Pirates cut it to 2-1 in the fourth. Adam LaRoche singled, moved up on Andy LaRoche's infield out and scored on Ramon Vazquez's two-out RBI single, a soft liner over third baseman Ryan Freel's head.

Game notes
Pittsburgh finished its 10-game trip 5-5, going 3-1 against the Nationals and 1-2 against both the White Sox and Cubs during their nearly weeklong stay in Chicago. ... Freel left after the bottom of the fourth with a strained left hamstring.