Inside Pitch: Zambrano Wants to Return

Carlos Zambrano hopes to return from a back injury this week for two reasons.

"First of all, I don't want this team to get 100 losses -- it's embarrassing," the Cubs pitcher said. "Second of all, I'm competing for something and I want to finish the season strong and come back next season. I'm a competitor. I need to go out there and get three or four more wins."

Zambrano believes he still has a shot at a Cy Young Award this year. He is among the National Leaders in victories, winning percentage, strikeouts and opponents batting average.

"Why not? I have the numbers," Zambrano said of a potential Cy Young Award. "But 14 (wins) is not enough. The Cy Young race -- Johan Santana is in the American League, and I will not compete against him. I will do the best as possible to finish in the top three."

REPLAY: The Cubs committed six errors -- the first time they've done that in a game since 1982 -- yet came away with a 9-8, 11-inning victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. Cesar Izturis' single up the middle brought home pinch runner Juan Mateo with the winning run and the Cubs won back-to-back games for the first time since winning four straight Aug. 13-16.

Freddie Bynum committed three errors in the first three innings, and former Gold Glove shortstop Cesar Izturis and former Gold Glove first baseman Derrek Lee made ninth-inning errors to help send the game into extra innings.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • RHP Carlos Zambrano, who left a Sept. 4 game early with lower back spasms, threw a bullpen session Tuesday. He believes he can return later this week. Zambrano will meet with manager Dusty Baker and trainer Mark O'Neal on Wednesday to figure out when he can pitch next.

  • RHP Mark Prior, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 11 with shoulder soreness, threw off of flat ground Tuesday. He is hoping he can get a few innings in as a reliever before the season is over.

  • 2B Freddie Bynum committed three errors in the first two innings of Tuesday night's game against the Dodgers. He likely will get less playing time at second in favor of Ronny Cedeno and Ryan Theriot in the remaining weeks.

  • 3B Aramis Ramirez was given a start off Tuesday night for a rest. Manager Dusty Baker said Ramirez played a lot this season and could be tiring. Ramirez hit a two-run single as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning.

  • RHP Wade Miller, who is a year removed from shoulder surgery, is the "front-runner" to take Thursday's start against the Dodgers, according to manager Dusty Baker. Miller threw just three innings in his season debut against Atlanta on Saturday.

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