MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Marlins walked away from Sunday’s game with a powerful pitching performance from Carlos Zambrano and a nice home run from…Carlos Zambrano.

Baseball fans shouldn’t be surprised by the power Zambrano displayed during Sunday’s game. For his career, Zambrano has 23 home runs, which is tied for ninth all-time.

But it’s not his power at the plate the Marlins picked up Zambrano for during the offseason. Zambrano was pretty much left for dead after he had a very public meltdown with the Chicago Cubs last season. Still, the Marlins believed Zambrano had plenty left in the tank.

The Marlins signed Zambrano with a nothing-to-lose attitude. If Zambrano played well, the Marlins were happy; conversely if he played poorly, the Marlins could move someone else into his spot in the rotation.

Zambrano has clicked with the Marlins since spring training and manager Ozzie Guillen is getting the best out of the veteran right-hander. Overall, Zambrano is 4-3 since joining the Marlins but has the second-lowest ERA on the team at 2.81.

Zambrano also has recorded 56 strikeouts this season, allows opposing hitters to hit just .207 against him and threw a complete game against Houston in May where he struck out 9 Astros hitters.

Projections have Zambrano finishing the season 12-9 with a sub-3.00 ERA. While it’s still too early to forecast that, Big Z’s biggest need is for the marlins to give him some run support. In his second and third appearances this season, he was given a grand total of zero runs by the Marlins.

But as the calendar turned to May and now to June, the Marlins’ bats have awoken and if Zambrano continues pitching the way he has so far this season, he could be a candidate for comeback player of the year in 2012.

FYI, according to baseball-reference.com, the all-time leader in home runs among pitchers is Wes Farrell who played from 1927-1941. Farrell hit a total of 38 home runs and finished his career with a total of 193 wins and 128 losses.

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