All was right at Wrigley Field again Saturday, thanks to the new stopper and the new bopper.
Carlos Zambrano proved fitting in his appointed role as the No. 1 starter, and he wasn't bad with the bat either as the Cubs limited the Brewers to one hit in a 4-0 victory.
Just for good measure, anointed homer-hitting right fielder Jeromy Burnitz smashed his first home run as a Cub straight into a Wrigley Field wind, giving him more homers and RBIs in one at-bat than Sammy Sosa has had all season for Baltimore.
All of it couldn't have come at a better time for the Cubs, who broke a three-game losing streak and handed the NL Central-leading Brewers their first defeat of the season.
On a sunlit April afternoon, Zambrano lit up 38,743 fans with a near one-man show.
He didn't allow any Brewer beyond first base and he drove home the Cubs' first run with a single and scored the third after a headfirst slide into third base.
"He threw well, he ran well, he hit well, he did everything well," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He wanted that victory, he knew we needed it."
Yes, the Cubs needed it after a rather lethargic 12-inning loss Friday in their first game at Wrigley Field after six weeks of spring training and three opening games in Arizona.
"It's an important win," Baker said. "Guys were probably more rested, moved in, unpacked, more comfortable. Some guys hadn't played here before or hadn't been here in six months. So it helped a lot, the second day at home versus the first."
Zambrano looked right at home from the start in outdueling Milwaukee ace Ben Sheets (1-1).
After being pulled from Opening Day during the fifth inning before the home-plate umpire booted him from the game, Zambrano seemed determined to make this outing different.
Zambrano allowed only one hit and three baserunners in 71/3 innings before giving way to Chad Fox and then LaTroy Hawkins in a non-save situation.
The whole thing took just a neat 2 hours 8 minutes.
"When you go to the mound and give your team a win, that's what makes you happy," Zambrano said.
He helped himself to the victory, driving home what was the game-winning run in the second inning after Burnitz led off with a walk and stole second.
He even electrified the crowd with that seventh-inning headfirst slide into third base after a Corey Patterson single and ahead of Todd Walker's two-run double.
"They pay me to pitch, and anything extra is a gift," Zambrano said. "I got a couple hanging curves [to hit] and I hit them well. [But] I'm here to pitch."
And Burnitz is here to hit, although he considers it a pleasure to be on the same side as Zambrano after years of trying to hit him.
"That Zambrano, he's unbelievable," Burnitz said. "He's fun to play behind.
"Playing against him, and he strikes you out, and he's pumped up and he's running off the field, it gets a little frustrating."
Burnitz's homer was a solo shot to right field that gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning.
But it was right into an east wind.
"I couldn't hit the ball any better," he said. "Obviously, it was a wind-blowing-in day at Wrigley, so you have to hit it really good to get it over the fence."
It didn't hurt his relationship with right-field fans either.
"All is good when your team is winning and you go deep; they love you," he said with a laugh.
Ah, yes, all was well again at Wrigley Field.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times