Samardzija, Alotta ‘D’ and Enough ‘O’ … Cubs Win Two in a Row – Cubs 5, Padres 3

Game Forty-Nine – Cubs 5, Padres 3
WP – Jeff Samardzija (5-3) LP – Eric Stults (1-1) Save – James Russell (1)

wflag.jpgJeff Samardzija put together another quality start and Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a home run) went deep for the second day in a row. But it was the Cubs’ defense and bullpen that played big roles in the Cubs win Tuesday afternoon at the old ballyard.

Alfonso Soriano made a game changing diving catch and doubled off Eric Stults from second to end the sixth inning. Jeff Baker made two sensational plays at first base. One turned into an inning ending 3-6 double play in the second and the other was a diving, backhanded catch with the infield in the eighth that kept the tying run at third. The two double plays the Cubs turned in Tuesday were in no way conventional but they helped keep the Padres off the board.

Shawn Camp (1 1/3 perfect innings) and James Russell (no runs, one hit, no walks and two strikeouts) pitched two innings of scoreless ball to preserve the victory for Samardzija. Camp replaced Samardzija in the eighth with the tying run on third and no outs. Shawn Camp sat down Chris Denorfia, Yonder Alonso and Carlos Quentin in order and stranded the tying run on third. After Camp retired Chase Headley to start the ninth, James Russell worked around a two-out bloop double by Everth Cabrera and recorded his first professional save. Russell struck out two, and got pinch-hitter Nick Hundley to chase a ball in the dirt to end the game.

Jeff Samardzija was stellar once again. Samardzija pitched into the eighth inning and allowed three runs on eight hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. Outside of not being able to figure out Carlos Quentin (3-for-4 with a home run, a double and two runs scored), Samardzija made only one other mistake in his seven-plus innings. Samardzija took advantage of the Padres aggressive offense (93 pitches, 60 strikes) and struck out eight batters (one short of his career high) with only one walk.

Jeff Samardzija even helped his own cause with a RBI single in the fifth (1-for-2 with a RBI and a walk). Samardzija was credited with the game winning RBI.

Darwin Barney (2-for-3 with two doubles, a RBI and two runs scored) and Joe Mather (2-for-3 with two doubles, a run scored and a walk) stepped up Tuesday against the lefty Eric Stults. Barney doubled twice Tuesday, the first two-bagger tied the game in the fifth and he scored the go ahead run on Samardzija’s single. Barney doubled and scored the Cubs’ fourth run in the seventh. After Stults balked Barney to third, Bud Black went to his pen for Brad Brach. Brach’s first pitch got past John Baker (ruled a passed ball) which allowed Barney to score.

Joe Mather scored the Cubs fifth run after he led off the eighth with a double off of Andrew Cashner. Jeff Baker (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Mather with a one out single.

With Tuesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 17-32 on the season …

Jeff Samardzija mowed down the Padres on nine pitches (eight for strikes) in the first inning. Samardzija notched two strikeouts in the opening frame … Chris Denorfia swinging and Yonder Alonso looking.

David DeJesus and Starlin Castro made two routine outs to start the Cubs’ first. DeJesus hit a tapper to the third base side of the mound and Castro grounded out to short. Joe Mather ripped a double into right center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall but Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging to end the inning.

Carlos Quentin led off the second with the Padres’ first hit, a double to the left field corner. Samardzija struck out Headley swinging (2-2 pitch) and John Baker smoked a 1-2 pitch toward first that Jeff Baker snagged and threw to second to double off Quentin. Samardzija threw 23 pitches in the first two innings, 18 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the second. Stults threw 28 pitches over two innings, 21 for strikes.

Jeff Samardzija retired the Padres in order in the third on just seven pitches (30 for the game, 24 for strikes). Samardzija faced the minimum through three innings and struck out four of the first nine batters he faced.

The bottom of the Cubs’ lineup did nothing against Stults in the third.

Samardzija sat down San Diego in order in the fourth. Not one ball left the infield and after four Samardzija had thrown only 39 pitches, 30 for strikes.

Starlin Castro led off the fourth with a single to left. Joe Mather walked. With runners on first and second with no outs, Alfonso Soriano hit a grounder toward third. Chase Headley fielded the ball, tagged Castro and threw across the diamond to double up Soriano. Mather advanced to second but was stranded when Jeff Baker fouled out to first.

Carlos Quentin led off the fifth with his first longball of the season. Quentin put the Padres up 1-0 with a solo shot to left center. Samardzija collected himself and got Headley to pop out to left center and Baker to tap back to the mound. Everth Cabrera reached second on a two-out hustle double to left center and stole third base without a throw. Alexi Amarista swung and missed a 3-2 offering to end the inning.

Reed Johnson singled to center to start the Cubs’ fifth. Darwin Barney then pulled a 3-2 pitch into the left field corner. Johnson scored from first and tied the game at one on Barney’s double. Koyie Hill popped out to right but Barney was able to tag and advance to third. Jeff Samardzija stepped in and quickly fell behind 1-2. Samardzija worked the count full then hit a hump-back liner over the drawn-in infield. Barney scored and the Cubs took a 2-1 lead. David DeJesus hit into a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning.

After five, the Cubs led 2-1.

Eric Stults led off the sixth with a double off the top of the vines in left center. Will Venable grounded out to short, Stults had to hold. Chris Denorfia hit a sinking liner into left center. Alfonso Soriano lumbered in, dove and made an outstanding catch as Stults crossed the plate. Soriano got to his feet and threw to Barney to easily double off Stults to end the inning. Samardzija threw 68 pitches in six innings, 46 for strikes.

Starlin Castro (pop out to second) and Joe Mather (ground out to third) made to routine outs to start the bottom of the sixth. Alfonso Soriano then gave Samardzija a little breathing room Soriano launched his seventh homer of the season over the wall in center (3-2 pitch) and gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Baker grounded out to short to end the inning.

After six, the Cubs led 3-1.

Yonder Alonso struck out swinging to start the seventh. Carlos Quentin followed with a single to center. Samardzija then walked Chase Headley. With runners on first and second with one down, John Baker singled to left and plated Quentin with the Padres’ second run.

With runners on first and second with one out, Everth Cabrera hit a 2-0 pitch back to the mound. Samardzija fielded the ball but his throw to second was high. Castro fielded the ball but could not touch the bag. Castro threw to first and Cabrera was called out. After both managers argued the calls at first and second, Bud Black sent Jesus Guzman up to hit for Alexi Amarista.

With the Cubs up 3-2 and runners on second and third with two outs, Jeff Samardzija struck out Jesus Guzman swinging to end the inning … 87 pitches for Samardzija after seven, 57 for strikes.

The Cubs tacked on in the seventh … with a lot of help from the Padres. After Reed Johnson popped out to first, Darwin Barney ripped a double down the right field line. Prior to a 1-1 pitch to Koyie Hill, Joe West called a balk on Eric Stults. Barney was awarded third and Bud Black went to his pen.

Brad Brach took over with Barney at third, one out and a 1-1 count on Koyie Hill. Hill squared to bunt on his first pitch. The ball got past John Baker and Barney scored … 4-2 Cubs. Hill ended up striking out.

Jeff Samardzija worked a two-out walk and advanced to second on a single to center off the bat of David DeJesus but Starlin Castro flied out to center to end the inning.

After seven, the Cubs led 4-2.

Andy Parrino singled to right to start the eighth. Will Venable drove a 1-0 pitch into left. Parrino scored from first on Venable’s triple. With the Cubs up 4-3 and the tying run on third, Dale Sveum went to his pen for Shawn Camp.

Sveum brought his infield in and Chris Denorfia hit a tapper back to Camp for the first out. With the infield still in, Yonder Alonso smoked a 2-0 pitch toward first. Jeff Baker made a diving, backhanded catch for the second out. Carlos Quentin flied out to left to end the inning.

Andrew Cashner made his way in from the Padres’ pen and Joe Mather greeted him with a double to right. Cashner struck out Soriano for the first out in the bottom of the eighth. Jeff Baker was left into hit and the decision paid off. Baker hit a 1-0 pitch into left field. Mather was waived in and scored (5-3 Cubs) but Baker was thrown out at second (7-5-4) and Johnson grounded out to third to end the inning.

The Cubs took a 5-3 lead into the ninth.

Shawn Camp retired Chase Headley on a grounder to second (3-2 pitch) to start the ninth. Dale Sveum went to his pen and brought in James Russell. Russell struck out John Baker for the second out. Everth Cabrera then blooped a double down the right field line. Bud Black went to his bench and sent up Nick Hundley to hit for Andrew Cashner. Hundley could not check his swing on a 1-2 pitch in the dirt … game over, Cubs Win!

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Anthony Bass in the series finale Wednesday afternoon.

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