Cubs Help Zambrano Win NL-Leading 13th

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By R.B. FALLSTROM
The Associated Press
Wednesday, July 25, 2007; 12:04 AM

ST. LOUIS -- Carlos Zambrano won his NL-leading 13th game and Aramis Ramirez's third single of the game snapped a seventh-inning tie in the Chicago Cubs' 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Third baseman Scott Rolen's two-out fielding error on Ryan Theriot's routine grounder opened the door in the pivotal inning for the Cubs, who are an NL-best 20-7 since June 3. Entering a six-game road trip, Chicago had lost two straight but has not lost three in a row since a six-game skid from May 27-June 2.

Zambrano (13-7) threw 117 pitches in 6 1-3 innings and the Cardinals ended his scoreless streak at 20 1-3 innings over three games on Skip Schumaker's two-run triple in the fifth. They couldn't keep Zambrano from passing Brad Penny for the NL victory lead.

Zambrano, who struck out five and walked three, is 8-2 with a 1.56 ERA in 10 starts since June 2 and has allowed two or fewer runs in all but one of them.

Pinch-hitter Ryan Ludwick hit a single to left that Alfonso Soriano bobbled, allowing a run to score before Ryan Dempster finished for his 17th save in 19 chances. Albert Pujols went 0-for-5 and grounded out to end it.

Derrek Lee had two hits and an RBI, driving in a run off Russ Springer in the ninth in his first game back after serving a five-game suspension for his role in a June 16 brawl with the San Diego Padres.

Jacque Jones and Ronny Cedeno also drove in runs for the Cubs. Cedeno, recalled from Triple-A Iowa earlier Tuesday, was batting only .034 when his single tied it at 2 in the sixth.

Kip Wells (4-13) made his second straight strong outing, allowing two earned runs on eight hits in 6 2-3 innings, but regained the major league lead in losses. The Cardinals moved Wells, who threw eight scoreless innings in his previous start, ahead of Mike Maroth in the rotation, with Maroth now scheduled to pitch on Friday against the Brewers.

Wells got Zambrano and Soriano on groundouts to start the seventh before Rolen, a seven-time Gold Glove third baseman, couldn't handle Theriot's slow roller. Lee walked before Ramirez singled to break the 2-2 tie.

Jones, 9-for-16 against the Cardinals this season with seven RBIs, put the Cubs ahead with a two-out single in the second.

The Cardinals appeared to benefit from a front row fan who battled Ramirez, the Cubs' third baseman, for a foul ball, in the fifth. Adam Kennedy singled later in his at-bat with Wells going to third, and Schumaker, who swung and missed at a pitch in his eyes to start his at-bat, followed with his two-run triple.

Notes:@ Cubs 2B Mark DeRosa left after 2 1/2 innings because of tendinitis in his left hamstring. Cedeno replaced him in the batting order, going to shortstop with Theriot moving to second base. ... The paid attendance of 45,436 was four fewer than the season best for the Cardinals, who have sold out every game since new Busch Stadium opened in 2006. ... The Cardinals are 21-23 at home after going 49-31 last year. ... Wells has lost four straight decisions to the Cubs over a five-start span and is 3-4 for his career against Chicago.


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© 2007 The Associated Press

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