Cubs lose after bus problem; Zambrano gives up 1 run, 5 hits in 4 innings

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs figured it was going to be a long day when their bus broke down on the side of the highway heading to Hi Corbett Field.

Turns out, the rest of the afternoon was rather short.

Chicago's adventurous 3 1/2-hour bus ride down from Mesa took way longer than the actual exhibition game. The Colorado Rockies needed just more than two hours -- warp speed by Cactus League standards -- to beat the Cubs 5-2 on Monday.

Starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano caught a break -- his cousin was following the bus in a car, so they drove with catcher Koyie Hill to the park. Zambrano had plenty of time to relax, unwind and warm up while his teammates waited for the bus to be fixed.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella wasn't with the team on the bus. He was driving separately with pitching coach Larry Rothschild as the two talked a little shop, discussing the pitching staff.

Any revelations?

"We made some plans on pitching," Piniella said. "Told him basically some of the kids I would like to see a little more of. He's very organized -- fine tune it a little bit."

About an hour later than expected, the team came sauntering onto the field -- much to Zambrano's delight.

"Thank (goodness) that the bus came on and we played this game," Zambrano said. "We need every game in spring training to be ready."

With the wind briskly blowing out, Zambrano felt as though he was back home at Wrigley Field. He gave up four doubles, including one by Carlos Gonzalez that the right-hander figured Sam Fuld was surely going to catch, only to have the ball bounce high off the wall in center.

"I saw Sammy going back and back, and (was like), 'This ball is going out," Zambrano said.

Zambrano threw 43 pitches in his third outing of the spring, allowing one run in four innings. That was better than his previous outing, when he yielded five runs over three innings.

On this day, though, Zambrano had his sinker working.

"Brandon Webb-style," he said, alluding to the Arizona Diamondbacks ace who is renowned for the pitch. "My sinker was great today. I was able to command my pitches and get out of some situations."

Zambrano also helped himself at the plate with an RBI double.

"Lucky," he shrugged.

Jeff Francis went four innings for Colorado and gave up two runs. The lefty is working his way back into shape after missing last season following arthroscopic surgery on his pitching shoulder.

"My arm feels like I'm getting ready for the season," Francis said. "I felt really good, especially in the last two innings. I felt like I had good angle on the ball."

Game notes
Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt (right shoulder inflammation) threw 46 pitches without pain in a bullpen session Sunday. He said he will throw again Wednesday before his next step is decided. ... Colorado reliever Huston Street threw around 25 pitches in a simulated game. "My body and arm felt great," said Street, dealing with shoulder inflammation. "My location wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, but the feedback I got from hitters was exactly what I wanted to hear." ... Cubs LHP Ted Lilly is expected back at camp Thursday. Lilly left to join his wife, who gave birth to a son Sunday. ... Piniella said 1B Derrek Lee (left foot) and 3B Aramis Ramirez (sore right triceps) probably won't play Tuesday against Texas. ... Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki hit his first homer of the spring in the sixth.