Samardzija Bad, Offense Worse … Cubs Swept – Cubs 3, Marlins 5

Game Thirteen – Cubs 3, Marlins 5
WP – Ricky Nolasco (2-0) LP – Jeff Samardzija (2-1) Save – Heath Bell (2)

After a rough weekend in St. Louis, the Cubs thought their first trip to the Marlins’ new park would be a good one with Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija starting the three games against the Fish. Three days later the Cubs were swept out of Miami after bad outings from Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija and an offense that managed two hits (2-for-18) with runners in scoring position during the three-game series.

Jeff Samardzija had little to no command Thursday. After walking one batter over his first two starts, he issued five free passes, one intentional, in 3 2/3 innings on Thursday. Samardzija gave up all five runs on eight hits with five walks and three strikeouts. It took Samardzija 88 pitches, 50 for strikes, to get through his short outing.

Over his last 4 2/3 innings, Jeff Samardzija has pitched the way he did earlier in his career when he was given the opportunity to start games.

For as bad as Samardzija was Thursday, the Cubs still had a chance to salvage the final game of the series. The bullpen was stellar and tossed 4 1/3 innings of shutout ball. James Russell, Shawn Camp and Carlos Marmol allowed only two runners (a hit and a walk) and gave the offense a chance … but once again, Sveum’s team could not come through with a clutch hit with runners in scoring position.

The Cubs were 1-for-8 with RISP and left eight on base in a two-run loss. The lone hit, a Darwin Barney (1-for-5 with a triple and three RBI) bases loaded triple with two outs in the second that gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead that Samardzija could not hold.

The Cubs recorded only one less hit than the Marlins (9-8) and walked three times (12 baserunners). Ian Stewart (2-for-4) and Geovany Soto (2-for-4 with a run scored) each had a multi-hit game but not with runners in scoring position (left a combined four batters on base).

The Cubs lost their fifth in a row and have been outscored 34-10 since beating the Cardinals last Friday.

With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 3-10 on the season …

For a game that lasted only three hours and eight minutes, Thursday’s finale against the Fish seem to go on and on and on. Especially the first three innings that took an hour and 22 minutes to play. Neither starting pitcher was sharp. The Marlins offense simply took advantage of all the extra opportunities Jeff Samardzija gave them.

The Cubs wasted a chance to take a lead in the top of the first. After David DeJesus (flied out to left center) and Darwin Barney (struck out looking), Starlin Castro singled to left and Alfonso Soriano punched a single into right. But Ian Stewart swung at the first pitch and hit a comebacker to Nolasco to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija put his team into a hole right away after a long 32-pitch (18 for strikes) first inning.

Samardzija struck out Jose Reyes to start the game but walked Emilio Bonifacio on the seventh pitch of his at bat (3-2 pitch). Bonifacio swiped second with Hanley Ramirez at the plate. Ramirez ripped a 2-1 pitch over Castro’s head into left center. Bonifacio had to hold and could only advance to third. Logan Morrison hit Samardzija’s first pitch into center … and just like that the Cubs were down 1-0.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a slow roller past the mound to short. Castro had only one play, to first. Ramirez scored from third, 2-0 Marlins. Samardzija walked Greg Dobbs but struck out Donnie Murphy swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs showed a lot of patience in the second and put a crooked number on the board.

Bryan LaHair led off the second with a walk. Geovany Soto singled to left. LaHair ended up at third with no outs. Marlon Byrd struck out swinging on three pitches. Samardzija bunted Soto to second and David DeJesus walked to load the bases.

Darwin Barney hit a 1-1 pitch into the right field corner. LaHair and Soto scored easily and so did DeJesus all the way from first. Barney ended up at third and the Cubs took a 3-2 lead. Starlin Castro ripped a 0-2 pitch to third that Ramirez picked up on a short hop and threw Castro out at first to end the inning.

Samardzija continued to struggle in the bottom of the second but did not allow any runs.

Brett Hayes led off with a single to left. Nolasco bunted him to second. Samardzija then issued his third walk. After Reyes reached on the free pass, Emilio Bonifacio grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

At the end of two, the Cubs had a 3-2 lead.

The Cubs had a chance to tack on in the third but came away empty. After Soriano tapped out to Hayes, Ian Stewart dropped a bunt up the third base line for a hit. Bryan LaHair doubled to right center. With runners on second and third with one out, Geovany Soto struck out swinging. The Marlins did the Cubs a favor and intentionally walked Marlon Byrd to load the bases for Jeff Samardzija.

Samardzija hit a deep fly to right that Stanton caught up to at the track to end the inning.

Hanley Ramirez returned the favor to Stewart to start the third. Ramirez bunted up the third baseline for a hit to start the inning. On the first pitch to Morrison, Ramirez stole second. Samardzija ended up walking Logan Morrison to put runners on first and second with no outs.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a 0-1 pitch to the third base side of the mound (swinging bunt). Samardzija picked up the ball and threw him out at first as both Ramirez and Morrison advanced ninety feet.

Greg Dobbs hit a bullet into the left field corner (0-1 pitch) and gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead. At that point, two of the four walks Samardzija surrendered came around to score. Donnie Murphy grounded out to third. Dobbs held at second with two outs. Samardzija walked Hayes intentionally to face Nolasco down by a run.

Ricky Nolasco broke his bat on a 1-1 pitch and blooped a single into right. Dobbs scored the Marlins’ fifth run of the game. Jose Reyes lined out to right on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

After three, the Cubs trailed 5-3.

The Cubs did nothing against Nolasco in the fourth.

The Marlins came out swinging in the fourth. Samardzija gave up a single to Bonifacio to start the inning. Bonifacio stole second with Ramirez at the dish. Ramirez ended up grounding out to Castro. Bonifacio advanced to third.

With the infield in, Logan Morrison smoked a 2-0 pitch back up the box. The ball hit off the palm of Samardzija’s right hand. Castro picked the ball up and threw to first as Bonifacio held at third. After a visit from the trainer, Samardzija struck out Stanton swinging on his 88th pitch of the game.

Dale Sveum went to his pen and brought in James Russell to face Greg Dobbs with a runner on third, two down and the Cubs down by two. Dobbs flied out to deep right center to end the inning.

Ian Stewart reached on a one-out single in the fifth. After LaHair popped out to third, Geovany Soto stepped in but Stewart was thrown out trying to steal second to end the fifth.

James Russell retired the Marlins in order in the fifth … first time in the game a Cubs’ pitcher sat down Miami in order.

Geovany Soto led off the sixth with a single to center, the Cubs’ eighth hit of the game. After Byrd failed to bunt for a hit, he flied out to center for the first out. Blake DeWitt reached on an error by Jose Reyes and ended Nolasco’s day.

With runners on first and second with one down, David DeJesus hit a 1-0 pitch from lefty Mike Dunn to the track in left center. Ozzie Guillen went back to his pen and brought in Ryan Webb to face Darwin Barney.

With runners on first and third, Barney grounded out to short to end the inning.

Shawn Camp retired the Marlins in order in the sixth.

Ozzie Guillen used Ryan Webb and Randy Choate in the seventh and the Cubs did nothing against the two Marlins’ relievers.

Other than a one-out single by Giancarlo Stanton in the seventh, the Marlins did nothing against Shawn Camp.

Randy Choate and Edward Mujica sat the Cubs down 1-2-3 in the eighth.

Carlos Marmol threw the ball well Thursday afternoon. The Marlins managed only one baserunner, a two-out walk to Jose Reyes, against Marmol in the eighth. Marmol struck out one and threw 22 pitches, 13 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the ninth against Heath Bell … game and series over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three-game series against the Reds on Friday afternoon at Wrigley … Chris Volstad against Homer Bailey in the opener.

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