By RICK GANO
AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO -- Carlos Zambrano pitched seven strong innings, and Aramis Ramirez and Felix Pie homered Monday night as the surging Chicago Cubs beat the New York Mets 7-1 for their 12th win in 15 games.
Zambrano (3-1) allowed five hits and a run with two walks and four strikeouts. Chicago's ace was backed by four double plays, including one in the sixth started by shortstop Ronny Cedeno that doused a big inning for the Mets and was a key play.
Ramirez, who raised his average Sunday from .234 to .275 with four hits, homered to left-center after Derrek Lee led off the fourth with a single off John Maine (1-2). Ramirez, who has five homers, has reached base in all 19 of the Cubs' games.
Cedeno delivered a two-out, bases-loaded single off Aaron Heilman to make it 4-1 in the eighth before Pie greeted reliever Jorge Sosa with a three-run homer to cap the Cubs' five-run eighth.
It was the first homer for Pie, who came in batting .143 and entered as a defensive replacement in the top of the eighth.
With the Cubs leading 2-0 in the sixth, New York's Endy Chavez hit a leadoff double and easily made third when Maine bunted and Cubs catcher Geovany Soto threw late to third, putting runners at the corners with no outs.
But Jose Reyes grounded to Cedeno, who stepped on the bag and was able to barely double up the speedy Reyes with his throw to first as New York's first run scored. Luis Castillo then beat out an infield single and stole second, and David Wright walked before Zambrano got Carlos Beltran on a fly to left.
Reyes made an error on Lee's grounder to the start the bottom of the eighth. Heilman hit Ramirez with a pitch and Kosuke Fukudome singled to cap a 10-pitch at-bat and load the bases. Mark DeRosa struck out and Soto popped up, but Cedeno delivered a single up the middle on a 1-2 pitch. Pie then homered to right.
Carlos Marmol pitched the eighth and Kerry Wood the ninth for the Cubs.
Maine gave up five hits and two runs in six innings with two walks and a season-high six strikeouts. Zambrano improved to 4-1 against the Mets, while Maine dropped to 0-3 in his career against the Cubs.
Pie had been seeing limited playing time lately as the Cubs worked with him on his hitting stroke. ... Cubs SS Ryan Theriot was a late scratch because of a sore lower back and replaced by Cedeno. ... Fukudome, who didn't play Sunday for the first time this season, had a cyst near his right eye drained and was back in the lineup. ... Mets C Brian Schneider, who bruised his right forearm when he was hit by a foul ball Saturday night, was out of the lineup for a second straight game with Raul Casanova getting the start. Schneider was trying to get rid of swelling and soreness. He could've played in an emergency, but said he would see how he felt Tuesday to determine when he might play again. ... Mets manager Willie Randolph said he's "not ready to make any rash moves," despite Carlos Delgado's miserable start. Delgado snapped an 0-for-13 skid on the current road trip with a fifth-inning single. He was 1-for-29 when he got the hit. Randolph said Delgado's biggest problem has been swinging at bad pitches out of the strike zone. ... Alfonso Soriano did some light jogging Monday and is still hoping to come off the disabled list next week. He suffered a right calf strain catching a fly ball last week.