Samardzija Stifles the ‘Stros – Cubs 7, Astros 1

Game One Hundred Fourteen – Cubs 7, Astros 1
WP – Jeff Samardzija (8-10) LP – Armando Galarraga (0-3) Save – None

wflag.jpgThe Cubs took care of business Monday night and ended their three-game losing streak behind another solid outing from Jeff Samardzija.

Jeff Samardzija tied a career high with 11 strikeouts on Monday night in route to his eighth win of the season. Samardzija labored through a long 23-pitch first inning before settling down and recording his seventh quality start in his last eight outings. Samardzija was in command for a majority of the night and made only one mistake … a pinch-hit homer off the bat of Brandon Barnes in the sixth. Samardzija located his slider and splitter and recorded strikeouts with pitches.

Jeff Samardzija struck out the leadoff hitter in each of the first five innings and struck out the side in the fourth. Samardzija allowed one run on four hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts in seven innings. Samardzija threw 108 pitches, 68 for strikes.

James Russell pitched a perfect eighth and Jeff Beliveau closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The offense woke up Monday night and scored seven runs on 10 hits off Astros’ pitching. Darwin Barney (2-for-2 with a home run, two RBI, two walks and two runs scored) put the Cubs on the board with a two-run homer, his sixth longball of the year, in the in the second inning. Barney has hit all eight of his big league home runs at Wrigley Field.

Anthony Rizzo (4-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored) collected his second four-hit game of the season. Rizzo drove in the Cubs’ third run with a RBI single in the third that plated Josh Vitters (0-for-4 with a RBI, a run scored and a stolen base).

Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, a walk and two runs scored) hit his 21st longball of the season, a two-run shot in the fifth. Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with a RBI) and Josh Vitters drove in the Cubs’ final two runs. Castillo singled in Soriano in the seventh and Vitters plated Barney in the eighth with a sacrifice fly. Starlin Castro went 1-for-3 with a run scored, a walk and a stolen base (19).

Darwin Barney was not charged with an error on Monday night and ran his errorless streak to 100 games, 13 short of David Eckstein’s single-season NL record.

With Monday’s win, the Cubs improved to 45-69 on the season …

Jeff Samardzija labored through a long, 23-pitch first inning but he did not allow any runs or hits. Samardzija struck out former Cardinal Tyler Greene swinging (2-2 pitch) to begin the game. Jose Altuve worked a walk then stole second on a 0-1 offering to Brett Wallace. Samardzija could not find the strike zone. Wallace drove a 3-1 pitch to deep center. Brett Jackson made an excellent running catch just before brushing up against the ivy for the second out. Steve Pearce flied out to left (2-2 pitch) to end the inning. Samardzija threw more balls (12) than strikes (11) in the first inning.

David DeJesus popped out to Greene in shallow left center (3-2 pitch) for the first out. Josh Vitters swung at the first pitch and grounded toward third. Marwin Gonzalez dove to his right, picked the ball and threw out Vitters at first. Anthony Rizzo notched the first hit of the game. Rizzo lined a single to center on a 2-1 pitch. Armando Galarraga struck out Alfonso Soriano to end the inning … 16 pitches in the first for Galarraga, nine for strikes.

Samardzija faced the minimum in the second after giving up a one-out single to Jason Castro. Marwin Gonzalez grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Samardzija threw 32 pitches, 18 for strikes, in the first two innings.

Starlin Castro led off the Cubs’ second with a single to left center (0-2 pitch). Sveum called for a hit and run on a 0-1 pitch to Welington Castillo. Castro advanced to second as Castillo grounded out to short. Brett Jackson struck out swinging (1-2 pitch). Castro took off for third on the first pitch to Darwin Barney. Castro slid in spikes first with his 19th stolen base of the season.

Darwin Barney lined a 1-1 pitch into the bleachers in left. Barney’s sixth longball of the season (eighth of his career, all at Wrigley Field) gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Jeff Samardzija flied out to center to end the inning.

Samardzija made quick work of Fernando Martinez (swinging strikeout) and Armando Galarraga (groundout to short) to begin the third. Tyler Greene singled to center (1-1 pitch) but did not advance. Samardzija struck out Jose Altuve swinging to end the inning. Samardzija needed 47 pitches to get through three innings, 29 for strikes.

The Cubs tacked on in the third after David DeJesus started the inning with a walk (3-2 pitch). Marwin Gonzalez took another hit away from Josh Vitters. Gonzalez made a nice sliding stop of a sharply hit grounder toward the hole at short. Gonzalez threw to second and forced DeJesus … but Vitters beat Altuve’s throw to first. Vitters took off for second on a 1-0 pitch to Rizzo. Rizzo swung over the top of the breaking ball and Castro’s throw ended up in center. Vitters was credited with his first stolen base and advanced to third on Castro’s throwing error. Anthony Rizzo drove a 1-2 pitch into left center. Vitters scored on Rizzo’s single and the Cubs’ took a 3-0 lead. Soriano popped out to left center for the second out and Castro grounded out to short (first pitch) to end the inning.

After three complete, the Cubs led 3-0.

Jeff Samardzija struck out the side in the fourth. Samardzija ended the fourth by catching Justin Maxwell looking at a 99 mph fastball … 60 pitches for Samardzija after four, 38 for strikes.

The Cubs wasted an opportunity to tack on in the fourth. Castillo (pop out to shallow right) and Jackson (flyout to left center) made two quick outs to begin the inning. Darwin Barney singled to left (2-2 pitch). Jeff Samardzija worked a walk but DeJesus grounded out to Altuve to end the inning.

After four, the Cubs led 3-0.

Jeff Samardzija struck out Jason Castro swinging to start the fifth … Samardzija’s fifth strikeout in a row. Marwin Gonzalez worked a walk but Fernando Martinez grounded into a 1-6-3 to end the inning. Samardzija threw 75 pitches over his first five innings, 44 for strikes.

Josh Vitters grounded out to his old teammate Marwin Gonzalez for the third time to start the fifth. Anthony Rizzo singled to left (1-1 pitch) and trotted around the bases after Alfonso Soriano launched the first pitch from Galarraga into the bleachers in left center. Castro and Castillo grounded out to third to end the fifth.

After five, the Cubs led 5-0.

Brandon Barnes hit for Galarraga to start the sixth … and pulled a 0-1 pitch from Samardzija into the bleachers in left center. Barnes’ first big league home run broke up Samardzija’s shutout. Samardzija refocused and struck out Tyler Greene swinging. Altuve grounded out to third. Brett Wallace worked a two-out walk but Samardzija struck out Steve Pearce swinging to end the inning. Samardzija struck out 10 batters in six innings on 90 pitches, 54 for strikes.

Rhiner Cruz took over for the Astros in the sixth and caught Brett Jackson looking for the first out. Darwin Barney walked and advanced to second after Samardzija dropped a bunt between the mound and first base that the Astros almost misplayed. DeJesus grounded out to second to end the inning.

Justin Maxwell led off the seventh with the Astros’ fourth hit of the night … a bloop single to center on a 0-2 pitch. Maxwell took off for second on a 2-2 pitch to Castro. Castro tipped the 2-2 offering into Castillo’s glove for Samardzija’s 11th strikeout of the game … but Maxwell slid into second with one out. Marwin Gonzalez grounded out to second and Martinez grounded out to first to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija threw 108 pitches, 68 for strikes, and tied a career-high with 11 strikeouts on Monday night.

Rhiner Cruz started the seventh by retiring Josh Vitters on a grounder to third (fourth time on Monday night Vitters grounded out to Marwin Gonzalez) and striking out Rizzo swinging. Cruz then lost his command and issued back-to-back walks to Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro.

Welington Castillo stepped in and broke his bat on a 1-0 offering from Cruz. Castillo drove a one-hopper off Brett Wallace. The ball appeared to hit off Wallace’s face then bounce into foul ground. Soriano scored and the Cubs took a 6-1 lead. With runners on first and third with two down, Brad Mills went to his pen for lefty Xavier Cedeno. Jackson grounded out to second (2-0 pitch) to end the inning.

After seven, the Cubs led 6-1.

James Russell set down the side in order in the eighth.

Xavier Cedeno walked Darwin Barney on four pitches to start the eighth. Joe Mather hit for James Russell and drove a 2-1 pitch into center. Barney advanced to third on Mather’s single … but Mather was cut down at second trying to advance when the throw went through to third. Gonzalez made a good play, stepped away from the base and threw out Mather at second. Cedeno walked DeJesus and put runners on first and third with one down.

Josh Vitters lined a 2-1 pitch to right. Barney tagged and scored the Cubs’ seventh run. Anthony Rizzo singled to center (1-1 pitch) for his fourth hit of the night. DeJesus advanced to third with two down. Alfonso Soriano flied out to left center to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth leading 7-1.

Jeff Beliveau started the ninth by retiring Brett Wallace on a grounder to second. Steve Pearce walked ahead of Justin Maxwell popping out to DeJesus in shallow right. Pearce took second (defensive indifference) on the first pitch to Jason Castro. Beliveau caught Castro looking at a 0-2 pitch to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Chris Volstad is scheduled to face Lucas Harrell on Tuesday night.

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Quote of the Day

"Pitching is the cornerstone of most championship teams." – Roger Craig

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Harrell is a decent pitcher: 9-8 3.97 with this Astros club.

    Volstad’s last ML win was vs the Astros, July, 2011.

    We’ve got us a game tonight.

    Cubs should even win.

    • Ken


      • Ripsnorter1


  • Ripsnorter1

    Campana was 3 for 4 with a BB last night. And 2 SB.

    • paulcatanese

      Thanks for the up-date Rip.

  • Tony_Hall

    I went to Saturday’s and last nights Chiefs games. Soler looks very good, and is a better talent than most everyone else on the field. No doubt he belongs in Peoria, actually he is bound for Daytona for next year I am sure.

    Wang looked good last night, much better than I was expecting. He made 2 bad pitches to the wrong guys, Miquel Sano and Kenny Vargas, but overall all, had good life on his fastball, like I said he threw harder than what I was expecting, but no radar gun to let us know how fast.

    Zeke Devoss had an error on a routine grounder, where he just stayed back on it and waited for it, but overall I like the way he plays. Austin Reed’s error, I thought he got the runner, but the infield ump called safe, and that changed the inning, as Reed ended up intentionally walking the bases loaded with 2 outs, and then couldn’t throw a strike. Ball four was down by the ankles, to walk in the winning run. Geiger, Darvill, Devoss and Hoilman around the infield is pretty good for this level. I would love to see Almora in CF next to Soler next week, when they come back.

    Jorge Soler hits the ball hard. Even his single had a different sound to it. He doesn’t run as well as I expected, but never really had an opportunity to see him have to go all out. He does have a good arm, that I saw one time, keeping the guy at first with a single, versus trying for a double in the RF corner. Enjoy him with Peoria while you can, he won’t be here very long.

    • Zonk

      Soler is 20, has international experience and a major league contract, so I bet you are right and the Cubs are aggressive in promoting him, which would mean Daytona next year. A+ is a pitcher’s league, so if he can hit there, probably a mid-season promotion to AA will be in order. Hopefully it goes like that.

      DeVoss looks like he isn’t going to make it offensively. As a 21-year old at single A, he should be raking. He isn’t. He strikes out too much for his power.

      • paulcatanese

        Zonk, look for Soler at the extended roster date, and
        I think he will get a lot more playing time in September with the big team..
        Have to think the Cubs are betting he’s another Cespedes. Could be, who knows?

        • Zonk

          Do you think he’ll be in the majors this year, as a September call-up? I must misunderstand that. There is no way that’s happening this year.

          • paulcatanese

            Dont count on it Zonk, he is their pick,a special one at that. If he keeps hitting right
            up to that time, they may showcase him.
            If he succeeds at this level, thats a real feather for Theo, and will pacify a lot of fans, and
            make them feel the future is closer. That would be a real PR move. I’m not saying though he would stay up, but would stir a lot of interest for the next couple of years.

          • John_CC

            It’s sound fun Paul, but I highly doubt they will expose this kid to MLB after hitting for bit in A ball. Just think how long they waited on Rizzo raking at AAA, and he was their pick as well.

            I do not believe for an instant that Epstein cares about pacifying impatient fans, not this early in his tenure at least. No way will they risk hurting or this kid’s development for their own egos (again, not yet).

          • paulcatanese

            John, you are probably right, this is just one of those feelings I get about someone,I guess
            Almora brings the same feeling.
            So far am disappointed with Jackson, he may be playing himself to another team, with he could snap out of it, but doubtful with hs track record.
            And that was part of my thinking, to solidify progress, even if they just brought Soler or Almora up for a cup of coffee(in their case a

  • redlarczykg

    Tom U or Aaron,
    Does Greg Rohan have a good enough glove and arm to play 3rd?
    Look at his offense this year!
    .286 Avg – 35 2B – 19 HR – 97 RBI at 3 levels, DAY A -Tenn AA and now hitting .340 at IOWA AAA.
    Could he compete with Vitters next spring?

    • John_CC

      He’s also 26 years old, and just made it to AAA. His current fielding % at 3B in Iowa is .850-something. I imagine he’ll be brought up when rosters expand and get a little PT, obviously there isn’t much stopping him from that.

      • Zonk

        They would have to clear a 40-man spot though. Not sure Rohan has enough of a future to do that.

        • John_CC

          Good point.

    • Tom U

      I feel that Rohan has what it takes to be a jack-of-all-trades backup at the major league level. His defense at third base is improved, hes is adequate in the outfield (I would rate him ahead of LaHair), and he is a good first baseman. On top of that, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by position changes and is a clutch hitter.

      Forget about the age factor. Rohan was 23 when the Cubs drafted him in 2009. He’s made it to Triple-A in 3+ years, a good rate of development.

  • cubtex

    Vitters has extremely quick hands. That is pretty evident. Give him some regular AB’s and the ball will start finding a hole. BJax has done nothing different from when I saw him play for Iowa a couple of times earlier this year. He does not EVER shorten his swing. I hope he goes the route of Anthony Rizzo and change his swing or he might be joining LaHair in Japan.

    • Zonk

      The Cubs are evaluating Vitters to see what to do about 3B next year. I think they are convinced he can at least hold his own at the plate, and the minor league stats say so. He has a nice swing as you say, he doesn’t strike out a ton.

      The problem is defense; he hasn’t been playing, because the Major League staff needed to see where he was defensively, and make some adjustments. His defense at 3B is critical, because Cubs need to know if they have to acquire a potential starter, or just go with Vitters and have a backup handy.

      If Vitters shows he can handle it, we probably will go with him at 3B, though we should have a decent backup handy. (Not sure that’s Valbuena)

      Valbuena and Stewart were both disappointing overall, but at least they both play a good defensive 3B. Stewart in particular was quite good. Too bad he couldn’t hit.

      • Zonk

        PS: Speaking of Stewart, at a salary of $3 mil, he will be a non-tender candidate. But I would try and bring him back for less, maybe even a guaranteed minimum deal. He can field, and maybe it really was a wrist problem. If you look at his minor league stats, he absolutely destroyed every level. Insurance policy if Vitters fails…..