Game Recap: Cubs v. A's - June 20, 2004

<i>From</i><br> CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs have won eight of their last nine thanks to 6 2/3 innings of clutch pitching by right-hander Carlos Zambrano this Father's Day Sunday. Zambrano (8-2), who has the second best ERA in the National League behind New York's Tom Glavine, upped his record to 7-0 in day games, striking out eight as the Cubs topped the struggling Oakland A's, 5-3.

The Cubs rallied for three runs on A's starter Barry Zito in the first inning. Zito (4-4) hit Todd Walker in the back before serving up a two-run homer to Moises Alou for an early 2-0 Cubs lead. It was Alou's first homerun against left-handed pitching this year, and his 17th overall. Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee then singled before Corey Patterson doubled over the head of Jermaine Dye in right to put the Cubs ahead, 3-0.

The A's got a run back in the second when Dye and first baseman Scott Hatteberg doubled to lead off the inning. Zambrano would allow at least one runner to reach base in his six-plus innings on the hill, stranding eight total on the afternoon. In the fifth, Walker tripled to lead off the inning and came in to score on Ramirez' RBI sac fly to center. Lee added a solo homerun in the eighth, his ninth of the year. The Cub first baseman went a perfect 3/3, and has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games.

LaTroy Hawkins ran into trouble before putting the final nail in the Oakland coffin. Hawkins allowed three consecutive doubles, all with two outs in the ninth to Erubiel Durazo, Eric Byrnes and Mark McLemore to bring the tying run to the plate before getting Mark Kotsay to strike out swinging.

NOTES: Mr. Cub Ernie Banks led the soldout Wrigley Field crowd of 40,145 in the singing of the seventh inning stretch. The Cubs now head to St. Louis for three with the first place Cardinals beginning Tuesday night. St. Louis leads the Cubs by two games in the National League Central. Zambrano won his fourth straight decision and has now worked six or more innings in 48 of his 63 career big league starts. Lee is hitting .438 (32/73) for the month of June, and finished 8/9 in the three games with the A's.

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