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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