Carlos Zambrano homered and pitched six solid innings, and the streaking Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 11-4 on Saturday.
The Cubs pounded Reds starter Johnny Cueto for five runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings and have won seven straight games for the first time since Aug. 23-29, 2008.
Starlin Castro drove in four runs for Chicago, his highest RBI total since he drove in six in his major league debut May 5, 2010. He doubled and singled, raising his NL-best hit total to 148.
Carlos Pena doubled twice, walked, was hit by a pitch and drove in three runs for Chicago. Aramis Ramirez reached base four times on two singles, a walk and a hit by pitch and scored twice.
Alfonso Soriano also was on base four times and scored twice. He singled, doubled and drew a pair of walks. Reed Johnson singled, doubled and scored three runs.
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips had to leave the game with a sprained right ankle after colliding with center fielder Drew Stubbs in the fourth. Phillips was able to finish the inning but was removed for pinch-hitter Todd Frazier in the fifth.
Zambrano (9-6) overcome early control problems. He allowed six hits and four walks and struck out six. One of the top hitting pitchers, Zambrano's solo homer in the third opened the scoring for Chicago and gave him seven career homers against Cincinnati.
Cueto (7-5) hadn't allowed more than three earned runs over a span of 17 starts dating to last season but allowed season highs in hits and runs. The homer he allowed to Zambrano ended a streak of six starts without a long ball.
Yonder Alonso drove in two runs and hit his first major league homer for the Reds, who have lost four of five and 11 of their last 15 on the road.
Both pitchers started the game off with control problems. After retiring the first two Reds, Zambrano walked the bases full before striking out Miguel Cairo to end the threat.
In the bottom of the first, Cueto hit Ramirez and Pena with two outs, but got Marlon Byrd on a groundout to escape the inning unscathed.
None of the seven baserunners the starters allowed in the first two innings reached via a hit. Edgar Renteria snapped the string with a leadoff single in the third. He scored Cairo's two-out bloop single to right. That was followed by Alonso's solid run-scoring single to left.
Cueto entered the game with a 1.72 ERA and had allowed just one run over his last 20 innings but the Cubs responded to their early deficit by jumping on the hard-throwing righty and knocking him out of the game before could escape the fourth.
Zambrano started the rally by golfing a low pitch well into the right-field bleachers for his second homer of the season. It was the 23rd career homer for Zambrano, moving him into a tie with Walter Johnson for ninth on the all-time list for home runs as a pitcher.
Cueto allowed seven hits, five runs, three walks, a homer, hit two batters and threw a wild pitch in 3 2-3 innings, striking out two.
The Cubs broke the game open in the fifth with five runs against Cincinnati reliever Sam LeCure.
The Reds matched their season high by committing three errors in the game.