Because the Brewers were on the road, MLB decided Saturday night to switch these games to Milwaukee. There were only a few fans in the upper deck, which originally was supposed to be closed, but the two lower decks were filled.
Zambrano also gave local fans a chance to see something they really wanted two weeks ago — a no-hitter.
Brewers newcomer CC Sabathia pitched a one-hitter on Aug. 31 at Pittsburgh, and team officials asked a scoring review committee to take a further look at the little trickler that was ruled a hit. The call stood.
The win could be yet another sign of good things to come for the NL Central-leading Cubs, whose fans have gotten used to doing more crying than cheering in September during 100 years’ worth of World Series frustration.
The Cubs took a 7½-game lead in the NL Central over the fading Brewers, who were swept in a day-night doubleheader at Philadelphia.
The Astros fell two games behind the Brewers and Phillies, who are tied in the wild-card race. Houston had won six in a row and 14 of 15.
Zambrano didn’t allow a baserunner until he walked Michael Bourn in the fourth. He allowed only one more baserunner, hitting Pence in the back with two outs in the fifth.
Zambrano also made an offensive contribution in the Cubs’ four-run third inning, singling and then chugging home from first on Lee’s double. The Cubs chased Randy Wolf (10-12) in the third, his shortest outing of the season.
It was the first complete game for Zambrano since June 16, 2007, at home against the Padres. He hadn’t thrown a shutout since April 7, 2004, a two-hitter at home against the Rockies.
Alfonso Soriano led off the game with a home run, his 28th of the year. With Zambrano in control, the game took just 2 hours, 17 minutes.
Notes: It was fourth no-hitter against Houston and the first since Pittsburgh’s Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon combined for one in a 1-0 victory on July 12, 1997. San Francisco’s Juan Marichal (1963) and Cincinnati’s Jim Maloney (1969) also no-hit Houston. ... It was the first no-hitter in Milwaukee since Kansas City’s Steve Busby beat the Brewers 2-0 in 1974.
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