Game One Hundred Thirty-Nine – Cubs 4, Pirates 3
WP – Jeff Samardzija (9-13) LP – Jason Grilli (1-5) Save – None
The Cubs beat the Pirates for the second day in a row behind a complete game by Jeff Samardzija in his last start of the season. The Cubs posted their first back-to-back wins on the road since they took two straight from the Pirates at PNC Park in late July (July 23-July 24).
Jeff Samardzija finished his first full season as a big league starter with the first complete game of his career. Samardzija came within an out of a complete game back on April 8 in his first start and he ended his year with the Cubs’ first complete game of the season. Samardzija pitched much better than his final line indicates as he dominated the Pirates over nine excellent innings.
Jeff Samardzija tossed a season-high 120 pitches (previous high 113 pitches) and seemed to get stronger in the later innings. Samardzija struck out Andrew McCutchen swinging with a 97 mph fastball to end the eighth and was still hitting the upper 90s in the ninth inning. Samardzija retired 17 of 18 batters at one point and retired the last six in a row to close it out.
The Pirates scored two of their three runs off Samardzija in the first inning. Samardzija was over-throwing just a bit in the first but was also being squeezed by homeplate umpire Scott Barry. Samardzija, the Cubs’ bench and Chris Bosio were not too happy with the strike zone in the opening inning.
Samardzija settled down after the 27-pitch first inning and allowed only two other hits the rest of the night. The Pirates third run scored in the seventh after a throwing error by Starlin Castro put the tying run in scoring position. Jeff Clement pinch-hit for Jared Hughes and singled in the tying run with the Pirates’ fourth hit.
Jeff Samardzija’s final line of the season: three runs, two earned, on four hits with a walk, a hit batsman and nine strikeouts in nine innings on a season-high 120 pitches, 81 for strikes.
The Cubs offense did just enough and Dale Sveum’s Tony-LaRussa-like-lineup put runs on the board. Jeff Samardzija hit eighth in Saturday’s game with Tony Campana in the nine-spot in the lineup. Tony Campana had one of his better games. Campana went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored, a walk and a stolen base. Campana worked a walk in the eighth that set it up for David DeJesus to drive in the go ahead run.
David DeJesus was 0-for-14 on the road trip prior to Saturday night’s game and ended his skid with a 2-for-4 night at the plate that included a walk and the game winning RBI in the eighth. DeJesus plated Welington Castillo (2-for-4 with a double and a run scored) with a two out single.
Alfonso Soriano (1-for-5 with a home run) hit his 27th homer of the season in the second inning that put the Cubs on the board.
Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, caught stealing and hit by a pitch) had a rough night. Castro was visibly upset after his throwing error in the seventh inning led to the Pirates tying the game. Castro was then hit on his right hand/wrist in the ninth. Castro stayed in the game and was thrown out trying to swipe second to end the ninth. The X-rays came back negative on Castro’s hand/wrist but his status for Sunday is unknown at this point.
The Cubs’ offense scored four runs on 10 hits with four walks and two HBP. The Cubs were just 1-for-12 with RISP and left 10 on base.
Darwin Barney (1-for-4) did not commit an error in Saturday night’s game and set a new National League mark of 124 straight games without an error by a second baseman. Barney broke Ryne Sandberg’s team and National League record of 123 consecutive games without an error at second base. Sandberg set the Cubs and NL mark over two seasons. Sandberg did not commit an error from June 21, 1989 through May 17, 1990.
With Saturday’s win, the Cubs improved to 53-86 on the season …
Brock Holt led off the first with a single to left (2-2 pitch). Starling Marte bunted a 1-0 pitch up the first baseline. Rizzo fielded and tagged Marte as Holt advanced to second base. Samardzija plunked Andrew McCutchen with the first pitch. Garrett Jones received a four-pitch walk from homeplate umpire Scott Barry. Samardzija appeared to throw strikes but did not get the calls and the Pirates loaded the bases with one out.
Samardzija left a 0-2 splitter out over the plate to Pedro Alvarez and Alvarez drove the ball into right center. Holt and McCutchen scored, 2-0 Pirates. Jones held at third with one out. Chris Bosio made a visit to the mound to settle down an amped up Samardzija and was able to mention the strike zone to Barry as well.
Alex Presley struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) for the second out … and Samardzija struck out Clint Barmes swinging (0-2 pitch) to end the inning. Samardzija threw 27 pitches, 16 for strikes, in the first inning.
After one complete, the Cubs trailed 2-0.
Alfonso Soriano led off the second with his 27th homer of the season. Soriano crushed McDonald’s first pitch over the wall in left and cut the Pirates lead to 2-1. After Starlin Castro grounded out to third, Welington Castillo pulled a 1-2 pitch down the left field line for a double. Darwin Barney hit a chopper to short that advanced Castillo to third but Samardzija grounded a 1-2 pitch to third to end the inning. McDonald needed 24 pitches, 18 for strikes, to complete two innings of work.
Jeff Samardzija retired the side in order in the second … 37 pitches for Samardzija after two innings, 23 for strikes.
Tony Campana led off the third inning with a single to center (0-2 pitch). McDonald paid a lot of attention to Campana with DeJesus at the plate. David DeJesus ended a 0-for-15 skid with a single to right (2-0 pitch). Campana scampered around to third on the play. Luis Valbuena worked a full count. DeJesus did not run and Valbuena bounced McDonald’s next pitch over the mound. Barmes fielded the short-hop near second, stepped on the bag and threw to first to complete the 6-3 double play. Campana scored and tied the game at two.
James McDonald hit Anthony Rizzo with a 2-0 pitch in the back in retaliation for Samardzija hitting Andrew McCutchen in the first inning. Both benches were warned. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning. McDonald threw 44 pitches in the first three innings, 29 for strikes.
Samardzija set down the side in order in the third … 49 pitches for Samardzija after three, 31 for strikes.
Starlin Castro led off the fourth with a single to right. Castro stole second on a 1-0 pitch to Castillo. Castro swiped his 23rd bag of the season with a headfirst slide. Welington Castillo flied out to shallow center and Darwin Barney popped out to second. Jeff Samardzija tapped back to the mound to end the inning. McDonald needed 55 pitches, 36 for strikes, to complete four innings.
Pedro Alvarez hit a rocket over David DeJesus’ head in right to start the fourth. Alvarez ended up at second with a leadoff double. Alex Presley smoked a 1-0 pitch back up the middle. Samardzija got a glove on the ball, knocked it down and tagged Alvarez out as he ran him back toward second. Samardzija executed the rundown perfectly and kept Presley from advancing past first base. Clint Barmes flied out to left center and Rod Barajas flied out to right center to end the inning. Samardzija threw 58 pitches in four innings, 36 for strikes.
After four, the game was tied at two.
Tony Campana led off the fifth with a ground rule double. Campana popped a 1-1 pitch down the left field line. Starling Marte appeared to have a play on the ball but pulled up as he neared the side wall. The ball hit and jumped into the stands. Campana took off for third on a 1-1 pitch to DeJesus and reached third with his 27th stolen base of the season. DeJesus walked and the Cubs had runners on first and third with no outs.
Luis Valbuena drove a 0-1 pitch out to left. Marte hauled it in as Campana tagged and scored from third with the Cubs’ third run. Anthony Rizzo grounded into a 3-6 force and Soriano flied out to the track in center to end the inning. McDonald threw 75 pitches, 48 for strikes, in the first five innings.
Jeff Samardzija set down the Pirates in order in the fifth … 68 pitches for Samardzija after five, 43 for strikes.
James McDonald issued a four-pitch walk to Starlin Castro to begin the sixth. Welington Castillo flied out to left. Barney quickly fell behind 0-2 before working the count back to even. Barney reached on a single to center and the Cubs had runners on first and second with one out. Samardzija bunted Castro and Barney to second and third. Clint Hurdle made his way to the mound and went to his pen for lefty Tony Watson. Tony Campana hit a 1-1 pitch toward third. Pedro Alvarez fielded the ball and threw to first to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija retired the side in order in the sixth. Samardzija retired 17 of 18 batters at that point on 80 pitches, 51 for strikes.
After six, the Cubs were clinging to a 3-2 lead.
Tony Watson struck out David DeJesus swinging to start the seventh. Luis Valbuena worked a walk and advanced to third on a single to right center off the bat of Anthony Rizzo. Clint Hurdle went to his pen and brought in Jared Hughes to face Soriano. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Rizzo was running on the pitch and was credited with a stolen base. Barajas faked his throw to second to try to catch Valbuena off third. Starlin Castro grounded out to third (1-1 pitch) to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija made quick work of Alex Presley and Clint Barmes to start the seventh. Presley bunted the first pitch to Valbuena and Barmes grounded out to Rizzo on a 1-1 pitch. Rod Barajas hit a routine grounder to short. Castro fielded the ball, spun and made a lazy, side-armed throw to first. The ball ended up in the Cubs’ dugout and Barajas was awarded second on Castro’s error. Josh Harrison ran for Barajas and Jeff Clement hit for Jared Hughes.
Jeff Clement smoked a 1-1 pitch off the wall in right. Harrison raced around third and scored on a long single to right. Clement’s first hit and RBI of the season tied the game at three. Samardzija retired Brock Holt on a flyout to left for the third out … 98 pitches for Samardzija after seven, 65 for strikes.
After seven, the game was tied at three.
Welington Castillo greeted Jason Grilli with a broken bat single to left to start the eighth. Darwin Barney hit a weak grounder toward third. Alvarez had only one play … and it was to first. Castillo advanced into scoring position on Barney’s productive out. Samardzija hit for himself and grounded out to third. Castillo held at second with two outs. Tony Campana worked a walk to put runners on first and second for DeJesus.
David DeJesus lined Grilli’s first pitch into right field. Alex Presley made a strong accurate throw to the plate. Castillo rounded third and slid around Michael McKenry. Castillo swiped the plate with his hand and the Cubs took a 4-3 lead. With Campana at third, DeJesus broke for second on a 1-1 pitch to Valbuena. DeJesus stopped and started twice before walking to second. He appeared to be trying to get caught in a rundown so Campana could try to score. The Pirates did not bite and Valbuena looked at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija set down the side in order in the eighth … 108 pitches for Samardzija after eight complete, 73 for strikes.
Chris Resop retired Anthony Rizzo (groundout to short) and Alfonso Soriano (groundout to third) to start the eighth. Resop hit Castro on his right hand/wrist with a 1-2 offering. Castro stayed in the game and took his base. Castro took off on the first pitch to Castillo and was thrown out to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija took the hill in the bottom of the ninth clinging to a 4-3 lead.
Jeff Samardzija retired Pedro Alvarez on a grounder to Rizzo, struck out Alex Presley swinging and retired pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez on a flyout to Joe Mather in left to end the game.
Chris Rusin is scheduled to face fellow rookie lefty Jeff Locke in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.
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