CHICAGO (AP) – Carlos Zambrano allowed just three hits in eight innings, and NL batting leader Derrek Lee hit his 23rd homer to lead the Chicago Cubs over the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 Tuesday night.

Jerry Hairston also drove in a run with a single, and the Cubs won their third straight.

Zambrano (5-4) was 1-3 in his previous eight starts. Since pitching seven scoreless innings in his last win at San Diego on June 5, he had allowed 18 runs over 13 innings in three starts.

But he handcuffed Milwaukee, permitting only singles to Lyle Overbay, pitcher Doug Davis and Damian Miller while striking out six and walking three.

Cubs center fielder Corey Patterson made a diving catch of Brady Clark’s liner in the eighth and doubled up Miller at second to end the inning. Ryan Dempster worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save in 13 chances.

The shutout was the second straight for the Cubs, who have not allowed a run in 25 innings. They blanked the White Sox on one hit Sunday, when Mark Prior returned from the disabled list and pitched six innings.

Zambrano outpitched Davis (9-7), who allowed just two runs and four hits in seven innings. He struck out nine and walked two.

Zambrano, who gave up eight runs in 1 2-3 innings in his previous start at Milwaukee last Wednesday, was much stronger in his rematch against Davis.

The right-hander didn’t allow a hit until Overbay grounded a single up the middle leading off the fifth. Through the first four innings he walked two and, thanks to a double play in the second, faced only 13 batters.

Davis got the second hit off Zambrano when he beat out an infield single to start the sixth.

Hairston’s two-out RBI single gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the second after Davis walked Aramis Ramirez and Jason Dubois.

Lee’s high fly to left with two outs in the third reached the bleachers for a solo homer that stretched Chicago’s lead to 2-0.

Notes: Patterson was in the leadoff spot for the sixth straight game. … Chicago manager Dusty Baker juggled the lower half of his batting order looking for added offense. Among his moves was moving catcher Michael Barrett up to fifth. The Cubs Nos. 5-8 hitters entered a combined 8-for-63. … Lee hadn’t homered since last week, when he hit four in a four-game series at Milwaukee. … Davis entered 5-1 in his last seven starts. … Milwaukee SS Bill Hall was ejected for throwing his bat after a called strikeout in the seventh.

AP-ES-06-28-05 2240EDT


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