Milwaukee shuts down Chicago

By The Associated Press

CHICAGO – Chris Capuano tried not to envision his first major league complete game.

“I was just hoping to make it through five with the big lead we had,” he said. “I tried not to think about it too much, but I couldn’t help it.”

Capuano wound up pitching a five-hitter for his first career complete game and shutout, leading the Milwaukee Brewers over the Chicago Cubs 9-0 Sunday.

He had an anxious moment with two outs in the ninth, when Todd Walker singled off the center-field wall.

“I’m thinking just one more,” he said. “Then he hit that ball. I didn’t think it was going to be that close to a home run. At that point I was a little anxious.”

He then retired pinch-hitter John Mabry on a game-ending groundout.

Making his 63rd major league start, Capuano (4-2) struck out six and walked none. He retired 11 straight until Michael Barrett’s leadoff single in the eighth. Chicago did not advance a runner past second base.

Capuano’s previous longest outings were 8 1-3 innings in back-to-back starts last year, at Washington on May 18 and against Colorado five days later.

“He was changing speeds with his fastball,” Walker said. “He’s crafty, meaning that he throws 89, 90 (mph), but he also throws 86, 87, so that 86, 87 ball is darting down. He’s got an unusual kind of release point – he gets on you quicker than you are used to. I took some funky swings at him.”

Carlos Lee hit his 10th homer to set a Brewers’ April record. Bill Hall singled, tripled and homered to drive in three runs for Milwaukee, which has won five of six.

Taking advantage of a strong wind blowing out to left, Lee connected in the second inning off Carlos Zambrano. Rob Deer (1987) and Geoff Jenkins (2000 and 2001) both hit nine April homers for the Brewers.

“It seems like every time I face him, I see the ball pretty good against him and I have good at bats,” Lee said.

Zambrano (0-2) allowed seven runs, eight hits and five walks in four-plus innings. He faced seven batters in the fifth without getting an out and allowing four hits and three walks.

Zambrano finished April winless for the first time since he became a starter in mid-2002.

“I still have a long way to go,” he said. “I think I have to work on my command. I’m leaving too many pitches in the middle.”

Chicago finished April 13-10 despite not getting a win from Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Zambrano. Prior and Wood are on the disabled list and have not yet pitched with the Cubs this season.

Zambrano has tried to control his emotions on the mound this season, and Cubs manager Dusty Bakers wants Zambrano to go back to his old ways.

“Quite frankly, I want the animated, demonstrative, angry Z to return to tell you the truth, because this new calm Z (is not) working, so we want the old Z back,” Baker said.

A day after the Brewers routed the Cubs 16-2, Lee homered for the game’s first run, and Jenkins hit a run-scoring infield single in the third.

Milwaukee added five runs in the fifth, batting around for the third time in two games. Rickie Weeks doubled leading off, Hall tripled, and Jenkins doubled off the ivy in left to make it 4-0.

Zambrano threw a pitch behind Lee, causing plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt to warn both dugouts, and the pitcher and batter exchanged words.

“You expect Zambrano to be pretty dominant every time he goes out there,” Capuano said. “But we’ve seen before that if you can get to him.”

Zambrano said he wasn’t distracted in the fifth inning.

“I didn’t lose my concentration. That ball ran out of my hand,” he said. “I didn’t try to hit Lee. If I tried to hit Lee, I would’ve.”

Walks to Lee and Prince Fielder loaded the bases, and Corey Koskie followed with a two-run double. Reliever Scott Williamson threw a run-scoring wild pitch.

Hall added a two-run homer off Scott Eyre in the eighth.

Notes: Cubs SS Ronny Cedeno made a diving stop behind second base to rob Jenkins off a hit in the first inning. … In the process of a making a diving catch and stealing a base hit away from Damian Miller in the fourth inning, Cubs RF Jacque Jones hit the grass and made a splash while diving on the wet grass. … The start was delayed 30 minutes by rain.