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Zambrano has up and down start to spring

PORT ST. LUCIE -- Carlos Zambrano's first Grapefruit League start with the Marlins Thursday turned out to be a bit like his days with the Cubs -- a bit of an up and down ride. 

Zambrano, whom the Marlins acquired in a trade for Chris Volstad, lasted just 1 1/3 innings, but left with four strikeouts. That was the good. The bad: three walks, three hits, three earned runs and just 27 strikes on 51 pitches.

Zambrano started his day by striking out the first two Mets he faced, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Justin Turner, both swinging. But Zambrano started to lose a bit of his control after that as he tried working on his slider.

He walked Jason Bay on four pitches and then walked Ike Davis on a 3-2 count. Catcher Lucas May then doubled both of those runners home when he crushed a 2-2 pitch into the gap in left center-field. Mike Baxter then gave the Mets a 3-2 lead when he stroked a single back up the middle. Zambrano finally got out of the inning when he struckout Adam Loewen, the next hitter, looking on a 3-2 fastball.

In all, Zambrano threw 39 pitches, 20 for strikes in the first inning.

He started the second by walking Ronny Cedeno and giving up a line drive single to center to Omar Quintanilla. But he ended the outing by striking out Nieuwenhuis looking, bringing his Grapefruit League ERA down to 20.25.