Diamondbacks 6, Cubs 2

Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija pitched out of enough trouble
to get through three innings with the lead in Chicago’s 6-2 loss to
the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday.

Samardzija – a candidate to start opening day at Pittsburgh on
April 1 – walked three, including two when he loaded the bases with
none out in the second inning, was making his second spring start
and became the first Cubs pitcher to get through three innings.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum has not named his Opening Day starter
and said again Friday he plans to do that closer to the middle of
the month. Right-handers Matt Garza, who has been slowed this
spring by a lateral strain, and Edwin Jackson, who pitches Sunday,
are the other candidates.

”Hopefully, I can just keep doing my work and see what
happens,” said Samardzija, who last season made a successful
transition from bullpen to starting rotation. ”Today the splitter
was a little off, but I thought I got some good work in and they
put some good at-bats out there. I got out of a couple jams, and
that felt good, too.”

Samardzija allowed a single and two walks to load the bases in
the second, but a double play and strikeout limited the damage to
one run allowed.

”To get out of there with one run, especially with a two-run
lead, that’s important,” he said. ”You don’t want to be in those
situations, but you’re going to be in those situations during the
year, and when it happens, like today, you just take a deep breath
and understand, `Let’s work on getting out of this situation so
when it happens during the season, we have a little better idea how
to do it.

”You definitely will go back to those things and see how you
got out of them.”

Arizona starter Trevor Cahill pitched two innings in his first
start of the spring, allowing the first three batters he faced to
reach in a two-run first before retiring the final six he
faced.

”I was just trying to throw strikes and get a feel for the game
again,” Cahill said. ”Just trying to get those cobwebs off and
feel comfortable.”

Former Cubs outfielder Tony Campana, who was traded to the
Diamondbacks last month for two pitching prospects, came off the
bench to deliver a two-run double to right in Arizona’s four-run
sixth inning and later added a triple.

”When you get rid of somebody like that, those things just seem
to happen,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. ”He’s been working
hard in the cage on putting the bat on the ball.”

Second-year left-hander Patrick Corbin, who’s trying to beat out
Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado to win the fifth-starter job,
earned the win for Arizona with the top performance of the day:
three scoreless innings with four strikeouts and three hits
allowed.

”He spots his ball well, and his slider was a really good pitch
for him this game,” Gibson said. ”He keeps his composure and
continues to make good pitches.”

Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who leaves Monday to join
Italy for the World Baseball Classic, gave the Cubs the early lead
with a run-scoring double to left in the first and then added a
single in the third.