Samardzija Digs the Longball – Cubs 11, Nationals 1

Game One Hundred Twenty-Four – Cubs 11, Nationals 1

WP – Jeff Samardzija (7-11) LP – Jordan Zimmermann (14-7) Save – None

wflag-pubThe Cubs hit five home runs, Jeff Samardzija pitched a complete game and the Cubs took game one of the series from the Nationals. After scoring a combined 12 runs in their previous eight home games combined, the Cubs scored 11 runs on Monday night.

Nate Schierholtz (3-for-4 with two home runs, a double and six RBI) drove in a career-high six runs with a three-run homer in the first, a double in the third and a two-run homer onto Sheffield in the seventh. Donnie Murphy (2-for-4 with two home runs) hit two solo homers and has hit a career-high six longballs since his call-up from Triple-A Iowa. Dioner Navarro (1-for-2 with a home run, three RBI, two walks and two runs scored) hit a three-run shot in the fifth … 10 of the Cubs’ 11 runs on Monday night scored via the longball.

Junior Lake (2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored) stayed hot and has five hits in his last eight at bats that includes three doubles. Lake scored two runs and Darwin Barney (1-for-2 with a walk, a sac bunt and two runs scored) contributed at the plate. The Cubs scored 11 runs on nine hits with three walks, and all three free passes scored.

The Cubs scored double digits in runs for only the second time this season (June 23, 14 runs vs. Houston)

Jeff Samardzija pitched an excellent game. Samardzija completed his second game of the season and third of his career after allowing one run on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Samardzija threw 105 pitches, 69 for strikes.

Jeff Samardzija made only one mistake over nine innings and Wilson Ramos deposited it onto Waveland Avenue. The other five hits off Samardzija were all singles and the Nationals put two runners on base only one time (third inning) in nine innings. Samardzija did not issue a single walk and had very good command of both his fastball and secondary pitches.

Jeff Samardzija retired 19 of the last 21 batters he faced to end his outing. Samardzija’s performance will get lost in offensive output, but Monday night was the best that Samardzija has thrown the ball since early in the season.

With Monday’s win, the Cubs improved to 54-70 on the season.

Jeff Samardzija retired three of the first four batters he faced in the first inning. Samardzija surrendered a one out single to Bryce Harper, but that was all. Samardzija threw 11 pitches, 10 for strikes.

Junior Lake smoked Jordan Zimmermann’s first pitch toward the hole at short. A drawn-in Ryan Zimmerman got a glove on the ball and deflected it into shallow left center. Lake hustled out of the box and ended up with a double … to the third baseman. Darwin Barney bunted Lake to third. Zimmermann then walked Dioner Navarro on four pitches. Schierholtz stepped in with runners on the corners and one down.

Nate Schierholtz launched a 2-2 pitch into the bleachers in right field. Schierholtz’s 17th longball of the year put the Cubs up 3-0. Castro flied out to right and Murphy struck out swinging to end the inning. Zimmermann threw 18 pitches in the opening inning, nine for strikes.

Samardzija faced the minimum in the second after giving up a leadoff single to Adam LaRoche. Ian Desmond grounded into a 1-4-3 double play and Ramos struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs went down in order in the second … and after two, the Cubs led 3-0.

Jeff Samardzija made quick work of Anthony Rendon (pop out to center) and Zimmermann (groundout to short) to begin the third inning. Denard Span and Ryan Zimmerman reached on two-out singles to center. Bryce Harper stepped in representing the tying run … and grounded out to Castro to end the inning. Samardzija needed 39 pitches, 29 for strikes, to complete three frames.

Darwin Barney reached on a one-out single to left center in the third. Dioner Navarro flied out to left. Nate Schierholtz stepped in and blooped a 0-1 pitch down the right field line. Barney was off with the pitch and scored the Cubs’ fourth run on Schierholtz’s double. Castro was caught looking at a 0-2 pitch to end the inning.

At the end of three, the Cubs had a 4-0 lead.

Samardzija made quick work of the Nationals in the fourth and really settled in after the third inning. Samardzija threw 51 pitches, 37 for strikes, over the first four innings.

Donnie Murphy led off the fourth with a home run to right. Murphy’s fifth longball of the season put the Cubs up 5-0. Zimmermann struck out McDonald and Ransom swinging and Samardzija lined out to right center to end the inning.

The Cubs offense went right back to work against Zimmermann in the fifth after Samardzija pitched an efficient 1-2-3 top of the fifth.

Junior Lake led off the fifth with a double to left center. Darwin Barney worked a walk and put runners on first and second for Navarro.

Dioner Navarro lined a 2-1 pitch into the bleachers in right center. Navarro’s 11th of the season and the Cubs’ second three-run homer of the night gave Samardzija an 8-0 lead. Schierholtz tapped back to the mound, Castro grounded out to third and Murphy was caught looking to end the inning.

Samardzija gave up another two-out single to Bryce Harper in the sixth … but that was all. Samardzija threw 69 pitches, 48 for strikes, over the first six innings.

The Cubs did nothing against Fernando Abad in the sixth. And after six complete, the Cubs led 8-0.

Samardzija retired LaRoche (fly out to left) and Desmond (grounder to second) for the first two outs in the seventh. Wilson Ramos then crushed a 2-2 pitch toward left. The ball left the park and ended up on Waveland … 8-1 Cubs. Samardzija retired Rendon on a grounder to third to end the inning … 86 pitches for Samardzija after seven innings, 56 for strikes.

The Cubs kept tacking on in the seventh. Dioner Navarro worked a two-out walk and trotted around the bases when Nate Schierholtz pulled a 3-2 pitch down the right field line and onto Sheffield Avenue. Schierholtz’s second homer of the night and 18th of the year gave the Cubs a 10-1 lead. Castro grounded out to second to end the inning.

Samardzija made quick work of the Nationals in the eighth, including pinch-hitter David DeJesus. Samardzija threw only 94 pitches over eight innings, 61 for strikes.

Donnie Murphy led off the eighth with a solo homer into the basket in center. Murphy’s second longball of the night gave the Cubs a 11-1 lead. McDonald, Ransom and Samardzija went down in order to end the eighth.

Jeff Samardzija took the hill in the ninth with a 11-1 lead … and retired the side in order to complete the game.

Chris Rusin faces Dan Haren on Tuesday night.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe