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.