08/31/10 12:37 AM ET
Cubs rout Pirates to win Quade's home debut
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Carlos Zambrano belted a two-run homer to help himself, Aramis Ramirez drove in four runs and Starlin Castro had three hits to power an 18-hit attack as the Cubs posted a 14-2 victory on Monday over the Pirates.
"Pick your guy," Quade said. "Zambrano settles down, takes care of business early in the game, we put a few runs on the board, and everybody's happy. That's a formula we like to see every evening. It was important to get off to a good start here, and they did a good job."
The Cubs had averaged 2.58 runs in the 12 previous games against the Pirates, and had beaten Pittsburgh only three times. It was a different story on Monday. Chicago now is 5-2 since Quade, the third-base coach, took over one week ago for Lou Piniella. Monday was "Q's" first game at Wrigley in the home whites.
"I guess it's an Opening Night," Quade said earlier on Monday, then admitted that at some point during the game he would stop to soak it all in.
"I try to take a minute every game, even at third base, to go, 'My gosh, how lucky am I?' -- whether it's the rooftops or whatever, that brings stuff back to you," said Quade, who grew up in the Chicago area as a Cubs fan. "You want to keep some perspective. There will be a really nice glow until the first pitch is made and then we have to get after it."
When was that moment Monday?
"During the anthem," Quade said. "When you're at third base, you have lots of moments. When the place is packed on a Sunday afternoon and somebody's here, and the roof tops are full, that's different. Tonight, it was the anthem.
"It's not just about being here, but it's about where I've been -- and I've been [darn] near everywhere -- and this is a pretty good place to end up now."
The Cubs made him feel right at home. Castro doubled with one out in the first and scored on birthday boy Marlon Byrd's single, and Byrd tallied two batters later on Alfonso Soriano's double to make it 2-0.
Zambrano got some help from his defense, too. Garrett Jones singled to lead off the Pirates' fourth and tried to stretch his hit into a double, but right fielder Tyler Colvin threw a perfect strike to second for the out. It was an appropriate play on "Andre Dawson Day." The Hall of Fame outfielder, who was honored before the game, would regularly make throws like that when he patrolled right field for the Cubs.
"Everybody contributed to a nice win," Zambrano said. "When we play as a team, we can do some damage."
The Cubs sent 11 batters to the plate in the fourth and scored seven runs. Koyie Hill hit a RBI single, Jeff Baker hit a two-run double, and Byrd added an RBI double to chase Paul Maholm (7-13). Ramirez greeted Sean Gallagher with a two-run single and then scored on Xavier Nady's double. The last time the Cubs scored seven runs in an inning was Sept. 8, 2009, in Pittsburgh.
Maholm said he couldn't get ahead of hitters.
"[I wasn't able to throw] my sinker like I can," he said. "It goes back to being able to do that, and establish down and away, and not missing over the middle. I know what it is. I need to fix it."
Quade and pitching coach Larry Rothschild considered taking Zambrano out a little earlier because of his pitch count but knew better.
"I think he wanted the at-bat, to be honest with you," Quade said.
Chicago sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth, and scored on Zambrano's home run, his first of the season -- 21st of his career -- and Ramirez's two-run double. Ramirez now is 12-for-19 with two homers and 11 RBIs in his last five games.
Since returning to the rotation on Aug. 9, Zambrano (6-6) is 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA in five starts. On Monday, he gave up four hits, walked four and struck out seven over 5 1/3 innings. He credits his success to a more consistent arm slot and being on top of the ball with better movement on his pitches.
"He looked real good tonight -- four-seamer, two-seamer, his slider was breaking late," Byrd said. "You didn't know if it was coming at you 94 [mph] straight or 92 with sink."
Zambrano had gone home to Venezuela after his last start because his 11-year-old nephew was ill. He called his brother on Monday and got encouraging news.
"My nephew is getting better every day," Zambrano said. "It's a miracle. He's not out of intensive care yet, but he's doing much better compared to four, five days ago when he was diagnosed with a five percent chance of getting out of what he has alive."
Both he and Quade can celebrate. With the 14 runs, Quade now holds the Cubs' modern-day record for most runs scored in a home managerial debut. The new Cubs manager had a few family and friends among the crowd of 29,538. He's managed in the Minors, including four years with the Cubs' Triple-A Iowa team. This was different.
"To be honest, I wish I was playing for somebody doing what I'm doing, because I've always wanted to play here," Quade said. "Did I think it would come to this? I had always hoped I would someday manage at this level. This is more than my mind can handle."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.