9/10 Winning is best therapy for Z

Carlos Zambrano improved to 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA in his last seven starts with a victory Friday over the Brewers. The right-hander gave up three hits over 8 2/3 innings and had three hits himself, including a RBI single.

“That’s one of the better games I’ve seen pitched all year,” Milwaukee’s Dave Bush said. “His efficiency and the way he was attacking the zone — it was one of those days for us.”

Big Z nearly went the distance but retired the first two batters he faced in the ninth and then Ryan Braun singled. Prince Fielder reached on an error by shortstop Starlin Castro, and after 119 pitches, manager Mike Quade pulled Zambrano for Carlos Marmol. The Cubs closer needed one just pitch to get Casey McGehee to fly out and end the game.

“To me, that was vintage,” Quade said of Zambrano. “He had the whole package tonight.”

Zambrano has appeared in control of himself on the mound and off since returning following his dugout tirade June 25.

“I’m not attuned to what’s going on,” Quade said. “I know winning is good therapy, I know that whatever personal stuff he took care of at home — there’s probably a million things. Not only are you allowed to get better but you’re allowed to mature. [The therapy] is none of my business as to what he’s doing but whatever he’s doing, I hope he keeps doing it.”

The Brewers were impressed.

“He had great movement tonight and great location, too,” Fielder said. “He’s locked in, oh yeah.”

Zambrano is hoping all the rumors about the Cubs possibly trying to move him this offseason are over.

“I feel happy here and I love this team, I want to stay here for the rest of my contract,” he said. “No more trade talk.”

Does he think the Cubs front office has forgiven him for his transgressions?

“People make a mistake,” Zambrano said. “Not only players but people in the front office make a mistake. We’re human. The most important thing here is to learn from it and keep going. You can’t put your head down and think about what happened [June 25] or whatever. You have to keep your head up and walk like a winner. There’s nothing you can do about it except keep pitching and keep doing your job and everybody will say good things.”

— Carrie Muskat

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