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Winning streak ends for Cubs
The new, decaffeinated Carlos Zambrano was back to his old ways Friday night at Citizens Bank Park, letting his emotions get the best of him in a 5-3 loss to Philadelphia.
Whether he was snapping back his glove after taking a throw from catcher Geovany Soto, stalking behind the mound after issuing a two-out walk or throwing back his head in disgust after a Pat Burrell fly dropped a few feet away from right fielder Daryle Ward, Zambrano was a study in frustration.
Afterward, Zambrano was relaxed and contrite in the Cubs clubhouse.
"We don't have to worry about those plays," he said. "We just have to worry about our players and do our jobs. My team gave me a lead, and I blew it. But those things are part of the game and you have to deal with it. Forget about today."
Zambrano was he wasn't upset with himself or any of his teammates when he displayed some body language in the fateful sixth after the ball fell near Ward and Aramis Ramirez missed a catchable foul ball.
Just showing some emotion?
"Always," he said. "You're talking with Carlos Zambrano, man. Always."
Manager Lou Piniella said Zambrano "really didn't throw the ball all that well."
Asked if Zambrano appeared agitated out on the mound, Piniella replied: "I don't know about that. I don't think that was a problem."
The Cubs had their five-game winning streak snapped, getting only six hits off Brett Myers and Brad Lidge, including home runs off Myers by Derrek Lee, Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano.
Back-to-back home runs by Lee and Ramirez gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but Burrell smoked a two-run shot off Zambrano to tie the game in the fourth.
Philadelphia took the lead in the fifth when Zambrano issued a two-out walk to Shane Victorino and Greg Dobbs doubled to left-center. Kosuke Fukudome, playing center, made a back-handed catch on the run, but Soriano bumped him and knocked the ball out of his glove.
Piniella argued Fukudome had the ball in his glove long enough for the out, and Soriano said "he had it two or three steps" after the catch. But that argument was ignored by third base umpire Tim Welke, who told Piniella "it wasn't a full transfer" of the ball out of the glove.
Fukudome said it was "nothing but my fault," and that "if the umpire said it's a fair ball, it's a fair ball."
Soriano made up for his inadvertent gaffe the next inning, homering to left to tie the game 3-3, but Ryan Howard doubled on a 2-0 pitch to start the bottom of the sixth and Ward couldn't catch up to Burrell's shot to right, scoring Howard with the go-ahead run and leading to Zambrano's histrionics.
Zambrano has been relatively low-key this season, although the display rekindled memories of similar fits of pique after misplays by Todd Walker and Matt Murton during seasons past. But Zambrano said he was simply being emotional, and was apparently just upset that the game was getting away from him.
"I was feeling good today," he said. "But they got the lucky hits and the key hits and they won the game."