• 61°

Zambrano returns from banishment to lead Cubs past Cardinals

ST. LOUIS — Carlos Zambrano won for the first time since his banishment for a dugout tantrum in June, and the Chicago Cubs won for just the third time in 17 games, 3-2 over St. Louis on Saturday.

Aramis Ramirez homered after missing three games with sore ribs. Derrek Lee also hit a solo home run for Chicago.

The Cardinals had won four in a row. Chris Carpenter (13-4) gave up three runs in six innings. He was 4-0 with a 1.79 ERA over his previous six starts.

Zambrano (4-6) allowed seven hits in 5 2-3 innings, struck out three and walked two. Carlos Marmol got the final five outs for the save, his 20th in 24 chances but his first since July 26.

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa finished up a two-game suspension for his role in a brawl Tuesday at Cincinnati.

Zambrano has had a tough year — a 5.46 ERA entering the game and a dugout blowup with Lee on June 25 that led to the Cubs placing him on the restricted list. He was solid in his return start at San Francisco on Monday, allowing two runs in five innings in a no-decision, and better Saturday.

Zambrano struck out Colby Rasmus three times and cooled off one of baseball’s hottest teams.