CHICAGO – Carlos Zambrano won his sixth consecutive decision, allowing 10 hits in a complete game to pitch the Chicago Cubs past Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4.

Carpenter and Cubs manager Dusty Baker yelled at each other near the Chicago dugout in the second inning, though it wasn’t clear why.

The Cubs scored four times in the second off Carpenter, a leading contender for the NL Cy Young Award who is tied for the major league lead with 21 wins. The Cardinals already clinched the NL Central title, so the right-hander departed early after a four-inning tuneup.

Matt Murton and Todd Walker homered for the Cubs. Murton hit his fifth homer in the sixth to break a 4-all tie, leading off the inning against Anthony Reyes (1-1) with a shot to center. Walker led off the seventh against Cal Eldred with his 12th homer.

Zambrano (14-5) gave up two earned runs and threw 126 pitches in his sixth career complete game. He walked one and struck out one.

The right-hander is 6-0 in eight starts since losing 6-1 to the New York Mets on Aug. 7. He left that game after three innings because of tightness in his lower back.

Zambrano’s other complete game this year was a 2-1 victory over Philadelphia on May 8.

Down 4-1, the Cardinals scored three runs in the fifth. Yadier Molina had an RBI single and Skip Schumaker reached on Nomar Garciaparra’s error at third base. Molina scored on David Eckstein’s grounder, and So Taguchi added an RBI double.

The Cubs scored four runs in the second to take the lead. Carpenter gave up only three runs to Chicago in three previous starts this season.

Carpenter gave up a single to Garciaparra and hit Jeromy Burnitz with a pitch. Carpenter struck out Murton, but after Corey Patterson’s RBI double scored Garciaparra, things got a little testy.

After the run scored, Carpenter walked over to the Cubs’ dugout and had a brief confrontation with Baker. Umpires and teammates led Carpenter away. He wasn’t the same afterward, immediately giving up a two-run single to Henry Blanco and a single to Zambrano. Neifi Perez added a sacrifice fly.

Carpenter gave up four runs and four hits. He threw just 60 pitches.

John Rodriguez hit his fifth homer leading off the second for St. Louis.

Burnitz had a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Notes: The Cardinals made two lineup changes just before the game, starting Taguchi over Jim Edmonds in center field and John Mabry over Larry Walker in right. Both were manager’s decisions. … The Cubs won the season series 10-6.

AP-ES-09-18-05 1713EDT


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