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updated: 5/29/2010 9:53 PM

Sharp Silva stays unbeaten, leads Cubs over Cards

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  • Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Silva pitches to the St Louis Cardinals Felipe Lopez in the 1st inning.

      Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Silva pitches to the St Louis Cardinals Felipe Lopez in the 1st inning.
    Associated Press

 
 

High-0, Silva.

Or more like High 7-0.

And to think all the Cubs were trying to do last off-season was find a new home for home wrecker Milton Bradley.

Enter Carlos Silva, thought to be nothing but more than one team's excess, albeit expensive, baggage in exchange for another's.

Not so. Silva had other plans.

"We came into camp (this spring), and he was healthy," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella. "He came into camp on a mission."

Consider this mission accomplished. Saturday's 5-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field improved the Silva Streak to 7-0 and lowered his ERA to 3.12.

Talk about a quality start. Yes, Saturday's was just that as the big right-hander went 7 innings and finished with a career-high 11 strikeouts while allowing only 2 hits and no walks.

No, here's the quality start that's really impressive: Silva is the first starting pitcher to begin his Cubs career with 7 victories since King Cole in 1910. And that's long before anybody knew anything about quality starts and everybody was throwing them.

"Today, I didn't throw any pitch just to throw it. Every single pitch had a purpose," Silva said. "I threw very good, very good."

This is all happening after leaving Seattle with a career going nowhere but down. Silva's numbers as a Mariners starter after signing a four-year, $48 million free-agent contract? A 5-18 record in 34 starts before he was unceremoniously shut down early last May with shoulder problems.

With two years left on that contract, the Mariners seemed as happy to be rid of Silva as the Cubs were to be rid of Bradley. Even Silva is having a difficult time figuring out just how quickly he has been able to turn things around.

"It's unbelievable," he said Saturday. "I don't do it for two years and now people are saying, 'Carlos is pitching tomorrow. We have a chance to win.'"

And apparently he's only getting better.

"Today is as good as I've seen him throw all year," said Piniella after his team got a much-needed win over their division rival. "He throws strikes and he makes people hit him. He's worked hard."

For the first three innings Saturday, though, his hard work was getting him nothing but a scoreless duel with Cards starter Adam Ottavino, making his major-league debut.

Finally the Cubs broke through in the fourth inning. Mike Fontenot, who had a one-out triple in the second off Ottavino only to be stranded at third, got the key hit in the Cubs' 3-run fourth.

It just happened to be another triple, to almost the exact spot in right-center, driving in Marlon Byrd, who had singled home Alfonso Soriano. Fontenot, who couldn't remember ever having 2 triples in a game, then came home on a Starlin Castro single.

With that, Silva, who has gotten 3 or more runs of support in each of his 10 starts this season, had more than enough runs on this day.

Not to put any century-old pressure on Silva for his next start, but consider this: Old King Cole opened his Cubs career at 8-0.

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