On a day hardly conducive to fun, the Cubs had a little of it Thursday in beating the New York Mets 9-3 at Wrigley Field.
The 42-degree day was more fit for parkas, but Carlos Zambrano went out there in shirt sleeves and ran his record to 5-2 by pitching 6 innings and giving up 6 hits and 2 runs. He had even more fun by going 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI at the plate.
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The only pain in the neck for Zambrano was a stiff neck that sent him to see the team doctor after the game. The Cubs said he has been dealing with it for a while but that the injury wasn't significant. Zambrano is expected to make his next start.
He left for the doctor's office before the media made their postgame rounds.
Back to the fun. Rookie Tony Campana got his first major-league start in center field. He made two highlight-reel catches in the first inning. On the bases, the speedy Campana had 3 singles.
"It was a good way to start the game for me," Campana said of his catches. "I was kind of nervous, getting my first start, and that kind of broke the nerves and started the whole thing for me.
"It's been unbelievable. It's something you dream about since you're a little kid, and I'm still just out there having fun."
Another guy who looked like he could use a little fun was Cubs manager Mike Quade, whose team won two of three from the Mets to improve to 22-26.
"In spite of the weather, it ended up being a lot of fun," Quade said. "Watching Campy play a little center field ... of course, the old baseball adage, it doesn't take long for the ball to find you. Two plays right out of the chute that he made, he did a good job. It's so much fun to watch him run around, not just because of his speed, but his enthusiasm and everything else.
"There's an innocence about him or something that I just love. He's having fun, and he was really good today."
Both of these teams can look hapless in the field. The Cubs picked up 4 runs in the fourth inning, with 1 being unearned. One of the runs Zambrano gave up was unearned, as right fielder Kosuke Fukudome and second baseman Darwin Barney each made an error on one play in the third.
Zambrano didn't let it bother him, as he earned his first win at home since Sept. 4. Stiff neck or not, he was able to throw 100 pitches.
"He was good, he was real good," said catcher Koyie Hill. "He pounded the strike zone. Obviously, with the weather the way it is, Z's game is real simple. He's going to go out there. He's going to throw his sinker. He's going to throw them some off-speed stuff to keep them off his sinker.
"It gives you a lot of confidence out there. He did a real good job keeping the ball down and got some groundballs when he needed, some big outs when he needed, and he was just aggressive. I thought about wearing a stocking cap, but I said my guy's got no sleeves on. I can't wear a stocking cap."