Carlos Zambrano loses in his return to the starting rotation

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Carlos Zambrano throwing.jpgCarlos Zambrano took the loss in his return to the starting rotation against the Astros on Friday night, allowing three runs on six hits over 4 1/3 innings while striking out three and walking three. He was pulled after throwing 85 pitches.

While his overall line doesn’t look all that impressive, he was much better after a shaky 34-pitch first inning. The final two runs were charged to him after he was relieved by Tom Gorzelanny in the fifth inning.

Despite the loss, “Big Z” told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that he was happy with his effort.

“The most important thing was my fastball was good today, my sinker was
good,” Zambrano said. “That’s the important thing about me. Team-wise,
we’re just not playing good. We just need to score more runs.”

He’s right. The Cubs have lost four consecutive games and have scored two runs or less in each of them.

Jon Niese leaves start with knee pain

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Mets starter Jon Niese left his start Tuesday night against the Cardinals due to left knee pain.

Niese walked two and gave up an RBI single before leaving with a trainer with one out in the bottom of the first inning. He was eventually charged with three earned runs. Robert Gsellman, just up from Las Vegas, took over, making his major league debut under unexpected circumstances.

Niese, who has not pitched well at all since coming over in a trade with the Pirates, is likely to be placed on the disabled list after the game or before tomorrow’s game.

Mark Trumbo’s home run streak ends

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 11:  Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles hits an RBI single against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 11, 2016 in Oakland, California. The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Oakland Athletics 9-6. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Mark Trumbo still has many chances to hit a home run tonight — it’s only been an inning or so in the Nats-Orioles game — but his weird home run streak is over.

Coming into tonight’s game, Trumbo’s last seven hits had been homers. The all-time record had been 11, set by Mark McGwire back in 2001. The last time Trumbo got a hit that wasn’t a dong was back on August 11. Later in that game, however, he hit a grand slam. After that he went 6 for his next 34, with all those safeties dingers.

But that’s over now. In the first inning tonight he drove in a run with a two-out single. Then he was thrown out trying to stretch it to two. Good job on the RBIs, Mark. Bad job on the base running. Judgment withheld on the homer streak because, really, that’s just kind of weird and cool.