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Friday, April 29, 2011
Cubs win one according to plan

By Bruce Levine

While watching his team break a four-game losing streak, Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade must have felt like he had never left Arizona after breaking camp on March 30.

Quade watched his highest-priced pitcher and outfielder contribute to a more conventional Cubs victory, 4-2 over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.

Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano allowed just two runs in six innings as the Cubs beat the Diamondbacks on Friday.
The formula during spring training was to get six or seven quality innings from the rotation, then let the big boppers hit a few home runs and turn it over to the solid veteran bullpen.

Carlos Zambrano's six innings of two-run baseball was a welcome sight, as the veteran picked up his second quality start (at least six innings and allowing three or fewer runs) of the season -- only the seventh by the Cubs staff in 25 games. The starting staff ERA was 6.31 coming into Friday’s game, the worst in the National League.

Most of the Cubs offense came from the long ball, as Alfonso Soriano belted his eighth and ninth home runs of the season while catcher Geovany Soto hit his second.

Throughout the first 25 games of the season, Soriano has been the team’s only consistent home run and RBI producer. Soriano is second in the NL with nine home runs, trailing only Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun (10). Soriano’s 16 RBIs are 15 percent of the team’s RBI production. Of the Cubs’ 20 home runs this year, Soriano has nearly half.

Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol were used in order to save the win.

When Quade wakes up on Saturday morning, he may still think he’s in Mesa, Ariz. rather than 10 miles west in downtown Phoenix with a 11-14 record.