Carlos Zambrano went winless in April 2006 but still managed to tie for the National League lead with 16 victories by season's end.
After Saturday's 8-1 triumph over St. Louis at Busch Stadium, Zambrano ended another subpar April with two victories.
At least it's progress, and Zambrano expressed no regrets about putting pressure on himself in March, when he guaranteed he would win the NL Cy Young Award.
"I don't think about that," he said. "I will think about that when I have the trophy in my hands. I just said that in spring training, and I'll just let it happen. You can see [Johan] Santana has like a four-something earned-run average. That's not Santana. At the end of the season, you'll see what Santana is capable of doing."
Santana, the Twins' two-time Cy Young winner, is 3-2 with a 3.44 ERA in five starts this month.
Zambrano showed what he's capable of doing Saturday, throwing six shutout innings before serving up a home run to Albert Pujols with an 8-0 lead in the seventh.
Of more importance is that he issued no walks as the Cubs raised their winning streak to a season-high three games.
"That tells you the whole story," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "Pujols can hit a home run off anybody. No walks tells the whole story."
The Cubs will go for their first sweep in St. Louis since 1988 Sunday night, with Rich Hill facing Kip Wells. The four starters in the Cubs' rotation are a combined 10-6 with a 3.06 ERA.
Jacque Jones, who had only three RBIs coming into the game, led the offense with three hits and four RBIs, including a double and a bases-loaded triple in the seven-run fifth inning that broke the game open.
"We need for that young man to get going," Piniella said. "And he did a real nice job out in center field."
Playing in place of Felix Pie, Jones made a running catch of a Scott Spiezio shot in the fifth and looks more comfortable in center than Alfonso Soriano did in the first three weeks.
"I feel great out there," Jones said. "That ball [Spiezio hit] started to right-center, and I got a good break on it, adjusted and got back."
If Pie gets sent down to Triple-A Iowa to make room for pitcher Angel Guzman, Jones will become the regular center fielder, with Cliff Floyd and Matt Murton sharing right.
The Cubs knocked Adam Wainwright out of the game in the fifth and continued their assault on reliever Tyler Johnson. That made things easier for Zambrano, who threw 113 pitches in an effortless performance.
Zambrano is now 5-0 against St. Louis in his last eight starts with a 1.23 ERA.
"I'm lucky sometimes," Zambrano said. "Guys made good plays behind me, and I pitched ahead in the count."
The Cubs improved to 10-13 for the season, while Tony La Russa's Cardinals dropped to 10-13 and are 3-9 at Busch Stadium.
La Russa is engaged in a feud with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but Piniella said he never spoke to his old friend about what's bugging him.
He might not talk to La Russa the rest of the season at this rate, though it has nothing to do with their long-standing friendship.
"Tony is superstitious," Piniella said. "I remember when I managed against Tony [before]. If we talked before a ballgame and he beat me, he'd look for me the next day. And if he had to find me in the commissary, he'd come get me.
"So I talked to him when we were in Chicago, and I said, 'If you beat me, you're not going to talk to me anymore.' So I haven't talked to him. So we're playing a little bit of head games. Nothing more, nothing less."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times