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Cubs-Brewers Preview 2009-04-11


Cubs-Brewers Preview 2009-04-11
The last time Carlos Zambrano pitched at Miller Park, he recorded the Cubs' first no-hitter in 36 years. The emotional pitcher dropped to his knees after the final out, Cubs fans cheered wildly and the Milwaukee Brewers were more than 800 miles away.

Zambrano looks to build off a solid opening-day outing and help Chicago get back in the win column when he returns to the site of his no-hitter Saturday, this time against the Brewers.

Last September in the thick of the playoff race, Hurricane Ike forced the Astros to move two games against the Cubs (2-2) from Houston to Miller Park, while the Brewers (2-2) were in Philadelphia. Although the Astros were the designated home team, thousands of Cubs fans made the short trip from Chicago to watch history Sept. 14.

Zambrano allowed one walk and struck out 10 in a 5-0 win over the Astros, recording the first no-hitter for the Cubs since Milt Pappas against San Diego in 1972.

Although that performance came against Houston, Zambrano has always seemed to enjoy pitching at Miller Park, posting a 2.08 ERA while winning his last three starts there against the Brewers. The right-hander was very sharp against Milwaukee last season, going 1-0 with a 0.43 ERA in three starts overall, allowing one run in 21 innings.

Zambrano made his first start of 2009 against the same team he no-hit, allowing one run and five hits with six strikeouts in Chicago's 4-2 win at Houston on Monday.

"He pitched well, he really did," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "The way we drew it up before the ballgame is the way the game played out. It's a good formula. Let's hope it continues to work."

The Cubs, though, have just one victory in three games since Zambrano's victory and lost 4-3 to the Brewers in Friday's series opener.

Chicago appeared to be on its way to victory after backup catcher Koyie Hill hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth, but Milwaukee rallied for two runs in the ninth off closer Kevin Gregg, who blew his first save with the Cubs.

Hill is starting for All-Star Geovany Soto, who is nursing a sore right shoulder and will miss the rest off this series.

Down by one in the ninth, Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks doubled to drive in Chris Duffy. Weeks then advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored the winning run on Ryan Braun's grounder to short.

"We get paid to entertain, so we want to make it interesting," Braun said.

The late rally helped Milwaukee shake off a rough start to the season. The Brewers didn't look much like last year's NL wild card winners while dropping two of three games at San Francisco.

Dave Bush (0-0, 18.00) takes the mound Saturday looking to help the Brewers take the first two games of the season from their Central Division rivals.

Bush, who went 9-10 with a 4.18 ERA in 31 games - 29 starts - last season, pitched one inning of relief in Milwaukee's season-opening 10-6 loss to the Giants on Tuesday, allowing two runs and three hits.

While Bush has been very average over the past three seasons - going 31-30 with a 4.57 ERA in 92 starts - the right-hander has struggled mightily against the Cubs in that span. In 11 starts versus Chicago since 2006, Bush is 1-7 with a 5.05 ERA.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 11, 2009

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