Zambrano stymies Cardinals over seven in Cubs' rout

" Goat: Wainwright (1-2) labored through another difficult outing, giving up six runs and seven hits in just 4 1/3 innings and walking three.

" Turning point: Jones' bases-loaded triple to deep center in the fifth put the Cubs ahead 7-0 and chased Wainwright. Chicago sent 12 men to the plate in the inning and scored seven runs to take the lead.

" Quotable: "Hopefully, we'll get into warmer weather and this young man starts to build some momentum and pitch the way he's full capable of.'' -- Lou Piniella, referring to Zambrano.

-- ESPN.com news services

Cubs 8, Cardinals 1

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- All Carlos Zambrano needed to end a bad month was a start against St. Louis.

He entered Saturday's game with a 1-2 record and a 6.91 ERA, but continued his mastery of St. Louis, pitching seven innings of one-run ball to help the Chicago Cubs win 8-1.

Zambrano (2-2) is unbeaten against the Cardinals in his last eight starts, going 5-0 with a 1.54 ERA (58 2-3 innings) over that stretch. He ended a three-game winless streak by allowing one run and seven hits with two strikeouts.

He said that that he did all the necessary things to be successful Saturday.

"I felt good and I made my pitches and I threw my pitches ahead in the count," Zambrano said. "It's nothing against the Cardinals."

Zambrano had plenty of help from his teammates. Jacque Jones hit a bases-loaded triple as part of a seven-run fifth inning, and went 3-for-4 overall with four RBIs. Derrek Lee continued his hot start for the Cubs, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Lee has reached safely in all 23 games he's played and is batting .391 (36-for-92).

"I never remember getting two hits in an inning before," Jones said. "I got a couple of hits when I needed them. It's a team game, so I did my job."

The past two years, Zambrano has struggled to do his job out of the gate. He went 0-2 last year in the first month and did not record his first win until May 10. But he reeled off a nine-game winning streak from June 5 through July 30.

"Hopefully, we'll get into warmer weather and this young man starts to build some momentum and pitch the way he's full capable of," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella. "This was a nice step in the right direction."

As for Zambrano, he is just happy to be starting a new month.

"It's good to see April gone and another month coming," Zambrano said. "We still have the rest of the season."

"He pitched a fine game," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "It's early in the year, and he's struggled a couple of times. It doesn't mean he's not going to be a good pitcher."

Albert Pujols led off the seventh with his sixth homer of the season for St. Louis. It was the 256th of his career, moving him ahead of Ken Boyer and into second place on the Cardinals' career home run list behind only Stan Musial (475).

Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright (1-2) struggled for the third consecutive start. Wainwright, who gave up seven runs in 5 1-3 innings Sunday in Chicago, lasted just 4 1-3 innings against the Cubs on Saturday. He gave up six runs and seven hits, walked three and struck out two.

"The one inning," La Russa said. "He's working on some stuff and it's going to get better. But that one inning, he gave up a couple of doubles, and he didn't have any room for mistakes."

The Cubs got to Wainwright and reliever Tyler Johnson in the fifth inning, sending 11 men to the plate.

Jones started the inning with a double to the wall in left, and Henry Blanco followed with another double to make it 1-0. After a sacrifice by Zambrano and a walk to Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Theriot drove in Blanco with a single to left, and Lee made it 3-0 when he doubled in Soriano.

After an intentional walk to Aramis Ramirez, Johnson relieved Wainwright and got Cliff Floyd hit a run-scoring fielder's choice to first. Mark DeRosa's infield single loaded the bases, and Jones cleared them with a triple off the wall in center that gave Chicago a 7-0 lead.

Jones also singled in a run in the seventh against Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock.

Game notes
Jones is the first Cubs player to get two hits in an inning since Jerry Hairston accomplished the feat in the seventh inning against Florida on Aug. 20, 2005. ... The Cardinals fell to 3-9 at home this year. ... Soriano extended his hitting streak to nine games; he has hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games. ... In his last three starts, Wainwright has allowed 17 earned runs in 15 2-3 innings (9.20 ERA). ... The Cubs have won three in a row for the first time since Sept. 16-18 of last season.