Samardzija Tiptoes Around the Cardinals – Cubs 5 Cardinals 1

Game One Hundred Forty-Four – Cubs 5 Cardinals 1
WP – Jeff Samardzija (1-1) LP – Jamie Garcia (13-8) Save – None

wflag.jpgOn the night the Cubs were officially eliminated from the race in the NL Central, Jeff Samardzija posted his first big league win of the season. Samardzija earned his third Major League win, first as a starter by throwing a shaky 5 2/3 innings of shut out ball. Samardzija allowed only six hits but walked four and hit a batter. The Shark struck out one but kept the ball down and induced two double play balls off the bat of Pedro Feliz.

The Cardinals put at least one runner on base in every inning but the ninth … including the leadoff hitter in the each of the first four innings against Samardzija. Tony LaRussa’s team finished the game 1-for-8 and left 12 on base.

Samardzija showed a little improvement as he threw from the stretch. The Shark did a good job mixing his pitches and locating his breaking stuff but still walked too many batters. Samardzija threw 105 pitches in 5 2/3 innings, 64 for strikes.

Samardzija helped his own cause with a RBI single in the second (1-for-3).

Q’s pitching staff did another good job against a division rival. After allowing just two runs over the weekend to the Brewers, Samardzija and four relievers allowed only one run on nine hits with five walks and six strikeouts.

Andrew Cashner allowed the Cardinals only run but was very good in his 1 1/3 innings Monday night. Cashner gave up a couple of hits, hit a batter and walked one but struck out three … including Albert Pujols on a devastating slider.

The Cubs offense delivered with two outs on Monday night. Three of the Cubs’ five runs came on two-out hits by Jeff Samardzija and Alfonso Soriano. Geovany Soto drove in the first run of the game and finished a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a walk and a RBI.

Xavier Nady collected two more hits in four trips to the plate and scored twice. The Cubs fifth run came courtesy of Kosuke Fukudome in the seventh … a RBI single to center off the lefty Dennys Reyes.

The only negative of the night was Tyler Colvin getting plunked on the left elbow in the third. Jamie Garcia hit Colvin on a 0-1 pitch and Colvin left at the start of the fourth with a bruised left elbow.

The Cubs played a good game in the field. Not only did they not commit an error but Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano and Xavier Nady made solid plays in the field.

The Cubs improved to 12-7 under Mike Quade with their 63rd win of the year (63-81), still 18 games under .500 …

The Cubs and Jeff Samardzija were just good enough on Monday night to put the Cardinals seven games behind the Reds in the division.

After going in order on just six pitches in the first inning, Aramis Ramirez led off the Cubs second with a double to left. Ramirez limped into second but advanced to third on an infield single up the middle by Xavier Nady.

With runners on first and third and no outs, Geovany Soto singled to left and drove in the first run of the game. Alfonso Soriano and Tyler Colvin struck out swinging. Jeff Samardzija stepped in and singled to right on a 1-0 pitch. Nady scored … 2-0 Cubs.

Jeff Baker (0-for-5 with four left on base) grounded out to second to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija faced the minimum in the bottom of the second … thanks to the first of two double plays off the bat of Pedro Feliz.

Darwin Barney led off the third with a single to center. Marlon Byrd then hit a tailor made double play ball to Brendan Ryan. Ryan tossed low to Schumaker, who dropped the ball.

Aramis Ramirez popped out to shallow right and Xavier Nady struck out … but Geovany Soto worked a two-out walk to load the bases.

Alfonso Soriano shattered his bat on a 1-0 pitch but singled into left. Barney and Byrd scored … 4-0 Cubs.

Tyler Colvin was hit on his left elbow on a 0-1 pitch to reload the bases … but Samardzija grounded out to third on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

At the end of three, Jamie Garcia’s pitch count was at a very high 54 pitches.

Samardzija walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the third. Ryan walked to start the inning, then Samardzija issued back-to-back two-out free passes to Pujols and Holliday. Colby Rasmus flied out to the track in right (1-0 pitch) to end the inning.

Jon Jay reached on a two-out single to left center in the fifth. Samardzija hit Pujols on a 1-2 pitch but retired Holliday on a fly out to the track in left.

The Shark dodged another bullet in the sixth. Quade sent him out to start the inning after throwing 93 pitches through five. Colby Rasmus grounded out to second but Yadier Molina walked on four pitches … the Cardinals 10th base runner of the game. Pedro Feliz popped out to second.

Nick Stavinoha hit for Jamie Garcia and singled to left. The 11th runner to reach in 5 2/3 innings against the Shark.

Mike Quade made the quick walk and brought in Scott Maine to face Brendan Ryan. Maine retired Ryan on one pitch. Ryan flied out to right to end the inning.

The Cardinals got on the board in the bottom of the seventh. Randy Winn reached on a double to left, fan interference, on a 2-1 pitch from Andrew Cashner. Cashner then struck out Pujols on a devastating 3-2 slider for the second out.

Matt Holliday went down and lined Cashner’s first pitch into right. Winn scored … 4-1 Cubs.

Q’s crew had a chance to tack on in the eighth … and this time, did not come away empty.

Xavier Nady and Geovany Soto reached on back-to-back singles to start the inning against Jeff Suppan. A wild pitch advanced both runners ninety feet but Soriano grounded out to third for the first out.

Tony LaRussa went to his pen for Dennys Reyes.

Kosuke Fukudome fell behind 1-2 but worked the count full against the southpaw before knocking a single into center … and plating Nady with the Cubs’ fifth run.

Andrew Cashner hit for himself and sacrificed Kosuke to second. Jeff Baker flied out to right to end the inning.

Cashner issued a leadoff walk to Molina in the bottom of the eighth. After back-to-back swinging strikeouts (Felipe Lopez and Brian Anderson), Brendan Ryan singled to center on a 3-2 pitch. Quade went to his pen for Sean Marshall.

Tyler Greene hit for Aaron Miles and struck out on three pitches to end the eighth.

Carlos Marmol retired the Cardinals in order to end the game.

It is always a good day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Randy Wells will make his first career start at Busch Stadium against Adam Wainwright on Tuesday night.

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax