Zambrano powers Cubs to another victory

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK – Carlos Zambrano hit his fourth homer of the season and won his eighth straight decision, leading the Chicago Cubs to an 8-6 victory against the New York Mets on Tuesday night.

Aramis Ramirez homered again and drove in three runs as Zambrano and the Cubs beat Tom Glavine for the second time in 11 days. Phil Nevin also connected and Henry Blanco hit a three-run double, sending Chicago to its second consecutive victory over the NL East leaders.

New York scored once off closer Ryan Dempster in the ninth and loaded the bases with two outs. But Cubs manager Dusty Baker brought in Bob Howry, who retired Paul Lo Duca on a popup for his third save.

Carlos Beltran and super sub Endy Chavez homered for the Mets, who suddenly appear woefully short on pitching, allowing eight runs in each of their past three games.

New York has lost three in a row for only the second time this year.

Zambrano (11-3) won the matchup off All-Star starters despite a shaky outing – and he helped his own cause with another big blow.

He sliced a leadoff homer to right off Glavine (11-4) in the seventh, becoming the first major league pitcher to hit at least four home runs in a season since Colorado’s Mike Hampton had seven in 2001.

Zambrano’s home run pushed Chicago’s lead to 7-5. Ramirez added an RBI single later in the inning.

Zambrano allowed five runs and eight hits in seven innings, extending his career-best winning streak. He also struck out six, running his NL-leading total to 147.

The right-hander hasn’t loss since a 3-2 defeat May 31 against Cincinnati. He is only the third Cubs pitcher to win at least eight consecutive decisions since 1985.

Glavine gave up a season-high eight runs – five earned – and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. He and Zambrano combined to give up four homers in the first two innings.

Ramirez and Nevin hit consecutive solo shots in the first, marking the second straight night the Cubs went back-to-back at Shea Stadium.

Ramirez has seven homers in his last six games and 23 this season. He is 10-for-20 lifetime against Glavine with three homers and five RBIs.