Cubs 9, Mets 3
Cold, wind, a stiff neck, a parade of opposing pitchers - nothing seemed to faze Carlos Zambrano on Thursday, on the mound or at the plate.
Zambrano pitched six strong innings, went 3 for 3 and drove in a run to help the Chicago Cubs beat the New York Mets 9-3 on another nasty day at Wrigley Field.
''Despite weather, it ended up being a lot of fun,'' Cubs manager Mike Quade said.
Zambrano (5-2) allowed two runs - one earned - on six hits and two walks while picking up his first win at Wrigley Field since Sept. 4. He doubled and scored a run at the plate, and now has four hits in his last four at-bats to raise his average to .375 on the season.
''The weather the way that it is, (Zambrano's) game is real simple,'' Cubs catcher Koyie Hill said. ''He's going to go out there and throw a sinker, he's going to throw some off-speed stuff to keep them off the sinker.
''He did a good job out there, keeping the ball down and getting some big outs.''
Carlos Pena stayed hot for Chicago, lacing a two-run homer in the fourth. It was Pena's sixth of the year, all of them since May 3. Pena has reached base in 19 of his last 20 games.
''As the conditions improve and the weather warms up, there'll be more of those ball leaving the ballpark,'' said Quade.
The Mets lost starter R.A. Dickey to a heel injury in the third when he fell trying to cover first base. New York's bullpen allowed eight hits and seven runs after Dickey departed.
Rookie Tony Campana added three singles and made a couple of nice catches in center in his first start for Chicago.
''It's awfully fun to watch him run around out there,'' Quade said. ''Not just because of his speed, but his enthusiasm and everything else. There's an innocence about him or something that I just love.''
Campana had appeared in six games for the Cubs, three as a pinch-runner, but Thursday was the first time he saw his name in the starting lineup. It didn't take him long to get into the action, as the Mets' first balls in play were sinking liners hit his direction. Campana slid to catch the first one, and made a shoestring grab on the second.
''It was a good way to start the game for me,'' Campana said. ''I was kind of nervous, getting my first start. That sort of broke the nerves and started the whole thing for me.''
The only time Campana was retired, he nearly beat out an infield hit by diving head first into first base. The crowd at Wrigley seemed to appreciate the effort, giving him several nice ovations over the course of the game.
''It was pretty funny,'' said Campana. ''I got a kick out of it. I was giving them little nods and waves back. I thought it was pretty fun.''
Alfonso Soriano had a two-run double, a single and scored a run for the Cubs. Kosuke Fukudome also had three hits, including his first homer of the season, a solo shot in the eighth that gave the Cubs their last run. Chicago matched its season high with 17 hits.
''Fukudome hit the daylights out of that ball,'' Quade said. ''Wow. That was good to see.''
The Mets added to their season-long injury woes in the third.
Zambrano reached on a two-out single, and Fukudome chopped a grounder to second. First baseman Daniel Murphy had come off the bag in pursuit the ball, so Dickey ran over to cover first. He stumbled and fell, and remained on the ground for several minutes.
Dickey eventually limped off the field and down the dugout steps, and was replaced on the mound by reliever Pedro Beato. The team said Dickey had ''pain in his right heel'' and ruled out any injury to the pitchers Achilles tendon.
In the clubhouse after the game, Dickey wore a boot on the injured foot and used crutches to keep pressure off the injury until he can be examined in New York on Friday.
''I felt a real intense burning sensation in my heel and involuntarily went down,'' Dickey said. ''It's just going to require some patience.''
The Cubs got to Beato in the fourth. Starlin Castro led off with a walk, and Pena lined a 2-1 pitch into the right-field bleachers through a stiff wind. Koyie Hill added an RBI groundout, and Zambrano lined a run-scoring single, giving Chicago a four-run inning.
''I'll tell you what,'' Quade said. ''He's a better hitter. He's more disciplined. It's funny to me. His approach is better. ... God, he loves to hit.''
The Cubs tacked on another couple of runs in the fifth on Soriano's two-run double.
Zambrano was unavailable for comment after the game. The team said he was asked to visit the club physician because of a stiff neck. The Cubs expect him to be available for his next start.
''It's nothing at all to worry about,'' Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. ''Obviously he's throwing the ball well and swinging the bat well.''
NOTES: Mets manager Terry Collins expects OF Angel Pagan (strained left oblique) to rejoin the team Friday. ... The Cubs have won 345 games to 344 for New York, with two ties, in a rivalry that dates to 1962. ... The Mets finished their six-game trip at 2-4, and now return to New York for a 10-game homestand beginning Friday against Philadelphia. ... The Cubs acquired Rodrigo Lopez from Atlanta. He was 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA at Triple-A Gwinnett, and is 75-82 in nine big-league seasons. He was acquired for Double-A left-hander Ryan Buchter.