Zero Support for Samardzija, Zero Runs for the Cubs – Braves 2, Cubs 0

Game Thirty-Five: Cubs 0, Braves 2

WP – Ervin Santana (4-0) LP – Brian Schlitter (2-1) Save – Craig Kimbrel (10)

For the second night in a row, the game was delayed by rain, there was a pitcher’s duel and the Cubs ended up on the wrong end of a low scoring ballgame as the Cubs lost the second game of the series in Atlanta, and for the sixth time in seven games.

The Braves scored both of their runs in the seventh inning after Rick Renteria lifted Jeff Samardzija and went to his pen. Brian Schlitter gave up two runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning. The Braves runs scored on a double by Ryan Doumit and a squeeze bunt by Tyler Pastornicky.

The Cubs were shutout for the fifth time this season and three of those games were started by Jeff Samardzija.

Jeff Samardzija put together another excellent outing and outpitched Ervin Santana. The Braves made very little solid contact with the hardest hit ball of the night coming in the sixth inning off the bat of Evan Gattis that Junior Lake tracked down in the alley in left center to end the inning. Samardzija tossed six innings of shutout ball, allowed only two singles, hit a batter, walked one and struck out seven on 69 pitches, 48 for strikes.

The Cubs shortened up Jeff Samardzija in his first start after he threw a career-high 126 pitches. And the one hour and eight minute delay after the second inning also led to Rick Renteria going to his bullpen after only six innings and 69 pitches from Samardzija.

Brian Schlitter took the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning. James Russell picked up the final out in the seventh inning and Justin Grimm pitched a scoreless eighth.

The Cubs outhit the Braves (6-5) on Saturday night but were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base. The Cubs put the leadoff hitter on base in three of the first four innings (0-for-5 with RISP, three men left on base after four innings) and twice the Cubs had a runner on third base with only one away. The Cubs managed six hits, one for extra bases, two walks and the offense struck out 12 times.

Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a double and a walk) reached base twice and Ryan Kalish (2-for-4) collected his sixth multi-hit game of the season. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4) and Junior Lake (1-for-3) also managed singles.

With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to a season-low 11 games under .500 with a 12-23 record.

While the Cubs could not cash in early opportunities against Ervin Santana (0-for-5 with RISP and three men left on base after four innings), the Braves made very little contact against Jeff Samardzija during his six innings of work.

After the Cubs failed to do anything against Ervin Santana in the top of the seventh, the game went to the home half still scoreless.

Rick Renteria decided six innings, a one hour and eight-minute rain delay and 69 pitches was enough for Samardzija and he went to his pen for Brian Schlitter. Chris Johnson blooped a single into center to start the seventh … a ball Emilio Bonifacio should have caught. B.J. Upton bunted Johnson to second. Andrelton Simmons pulled Schlitter’s first pitch into left. Johnson held at third with one out. Fredi Gonzalez went to his bench and sent up Ryan Doumit to hit for Santana. The former Pirate and Twin lashed a 1-0 pitch off the wall in left. Johnson scored, 1-0 Braves, and Simmons ended up at second on Doumit’s double. The Cubs pitched out on a 0-1 offering to Pastornicky anticipating a squeeze bunt. The Cubs guessed wrong, because Pastornicky squared on the next pitch and bunted the ball back to Schlitter as Simmons raced down the line. The Braves took a 2-0 lead as Schlitter threw out Pastornicky for the second out. With Doumit at third and Heyward due up, Renteria went to his pen for James Russell. Heyward popped out to Luis Valbuena (3-2 pitch) at second to end the inning.

After seven complete, the Braves had a 2-0 lead.

David Carpenter struck out the side in the eighth and Craig Kimbrel, with a point to prove, retired three of the four batters he faced in the ninth to end the game.

Edwin Jackson and Aaron Harang will square off in game three of the weekend series on Sunday afternoon (12:35pm CDT).

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Quote of the Day

"Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow." - Plato
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