Cubs 3, Padres 2
Jeff Samardzija knew what Cubs manager Dale Sveum was doing by
not visiting the mound in the eighth inning.
Sveum left Samardzija on his own when he wriggled out of two
bases-loaded jams in the inning, and the Cubs beat the San Diego
Padres 3-2 Saturday night.
”Me and Dale might have had a meeting if he would have taken me
out right down there in the dugout,” Samardzija joked. ”But
that’s what Dale is all about. Dale is all about putting confidence
in players. There are a lot of under the radar things he does that
puts confidence in his players. He did it for me there, too. He
didn’t even have a mound visit or anything. As a player, that says
Said Sveum about his decision: ”He bared down and got two huge
outs. That’s why you leave a guy like that in the game.”
In his second straight solid outing, Samardzija (8-11) limited
the damage to one run in the decisive eighth when the Padres twice
loaded the bases and cut the lead to one run.
Darwin Barney homered and drove in two runs for Chicago, which
broke a four-game losing streak. In the Cubs’ last eight games,
their only two wins have come in Samardzija’s starts.
”Tip my hat to Barney, too, for giving me those two runs,”
Samardzija said. ”When you have a two-run cushion instead of one,
Trailing 3-1 heading into the eighth inning, pinch-hitter Mark
Kotsay led off with a walk and went to second on Will Venable’s
single. The Padres loaded the bases when Alexi Amarista’s sacrifice
bunt attempt hugged the third base line but stayed fair for a
Yonder Alonso followed with a sacrifice fly. But Samardzija got
rookie Jedd Gyorko on a fly out. After a passed ball, Samardzija
intentionally walked Chase Headley to load the bases. He then
struck out Logan Forsythe to end the inning.
”I thought from their standpoint, (Samardzija) is their guy,”
Padres manager Bud Black said. ”He was throwing the ball well. He
wobbled a little bit there but he hung in there and threw
Samardzija allowed two runs on seven hits. The right-hander
struck out seven and walked two.
Samardzija threw a six-hitter in his last start, an 11-1 win
over Washington last Sunday.
The light-hitting Barney, who had three hits, connected for a
solo shot in the fifth inning and added a go-ahead RBI double in
the Cubs’ two-run seventh.
Barney, hitting .221, equaled his career high with his seventh
homer and first since July 14.
Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 30
Eric Stults (8-11), winless in his last seven starts, gave up
three runs on six hits in 6 1-3 innings. The lefty is 0-4 since his
last win on July 14.
The Cubs went ahead 2-1 in the seventh after a leadoff walk to
Darnell McDonald. With one out, Barney hit a ball into the left
field corner. As McDonald rounded third, Forsythe took the relay
throw on the grass just behind third base.
But Forsythe’s throw sailed high into the stands behind home
plate, allowing Barney to go to third. Anthony Rizzo followed with
a two-out RBI single.
Barney homered with one out in the fifth inning, his seventh, to
give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. The ball just barely cleared the left
field wall, landing in the first row.
Venable tied the score 1-all with his 19th home run in the
sixth. Venable, who extended his career high with his homer and had
three hits, has hit safely in 19 of 20 games.
NOTES: Fourteen of Venable’s 19 homers have come at pitching
friendly Petco Park. … Stults was the first lefty starter the
Cubs have faced in 16 games. … Barney’s home run was Chicago’s
400th extra-base hit this season. The Cubs have 403, tops in the
NL. … Padres OF-1B Kyle Blanks, on the DL since July 12 with left
Achilles inflammation, will play in a rehab game Sunday with
Triple-A Tucson. … Cubs C Welington Castillo (sore rib) missed
his third straight start but is expected back in the lineup on
Sunday. … Cubs LHP Chris Rusin (2-3, 3.08 ERA) faces Padres
righty Andrew Cashner (8-8, 3.74) in Sunday’s finale.