ERA Leader Samardzija Gets First Win, Cubs Beat Giants
Pablo Sandoval’s surge continued. The San Francisco Giants’ winning streak did not.
Sandoval homered and drove in three runs before Jeff Samardzija shut down the Giants, leading the Chicago Cubs to an 8-4 victory Monday.
“We scored some runs off a very tough pitcher. It was an off day for us and the staff,” Giants Bruce Bochy said.
Sandoval singled home a run in the first inning and hit a two-run homer in the fourth for the Giants, who had won four in a row. Sandoval has five home runs and 12 RBIs in his last eight games.
But the rest of the Giants struggled at the plate – and on the mound.
Samardzija (1-4) struck out a season-high 10 for his first win since last August. He allowed six hits and walked none in seven-plus innings.
Samardzija also had an RBI double during a three-run fourth to help snap his 16-start winless streak. The right-hander entered with six no-decisions in his first 10 outings this year despite leading the majors with a 1.46 ERA.
“He’s got gasoline in his arm,” Giants catcher Hector Sanchez said of Samardzija, whose fastball regularly reached 96 mph on the ballpark’s radar.
Former Giants outfielder Nate Schierholtz hit his first home run of the season and Darwin Barney drove in two runs to help the Cubs come back from a 3-1 deficit.
Yusmeiro Petit (3-2) gave up four runs and six hits in five innings while filling in for injured starter Matt Cain, who was scratched after exiting his last outing with a strained right hamstring. Petit struck out five and walked none.
“Petit was throwing very well. In the last inning he left a lot of pitches up,” Bochy said.
Left-hander David Huff, who struck out as a pinch-hitter in the fifth, allowed four runs and seven hits in 1 1-3 innings of relief. Bochy said he used Huff as a pinch-hitter because he was worried that Sanchez (foul ball off mask) and left fielder Michael Morse (left calf tightness) might need to come out of the game in the late innings.
The Cubs just kept providing runs to back Samardzija’s long-sought victory.
Samardzija had not won since Aug. 24 at San Diego last season, mostly because of a lack of support from his lowly club. He has allowed more than two runs only twice this year, including Monday.
“Guys played amazingly out there for me today, and I know they’ve been wanting it as much as I did,” Samardzija said.
Samardzija was pulled after Angel Pagan singled leading off the eighth. Justin Grimm got three outs and Neil Ramirez pitched a scoreless ninth.
The Giants’ hottest hitter capitalized on two of the few mistakes Samardzija made. After Pagan reached when Samardzija dropped the ball for an error while covering first base, Sandoval singled with two outs in the first to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs came back in the third on Schierholtz’s solo shot. Sandoval put San Francisco up 3-1 with a golf-like swing on a pitch that looked well below the strike zone in the fourth.
Samardzija then lined a tying, two-out double to right and scored on Emilio Bonifacio’s triple during a three-run fifth that put the Cubs in front 4-3.
“I was getting behind in the count. I couldn’t get a strike. The pitcher made a good swing,” Petit said.
Added Bochy: “The hit by their pitcher kind of broke our back.”
Welington Castillo and Barney each hit RBI singles in the sixth. Anthony Rizzo and Luis Valbuena each drove home a run in the seventh to extend Chicago’s lead to 8-3.
Brandon Crawford’s RBI single in the seventh accounted for San Francisco’s final run.
NOTES: Bochy said Cain is progressing well and the team hopes the right-hander will take his next turn in the rotation Saturday at St. Louis. … The Cubs activated OF Justin Ruggiano from the 15-day disabled list and optioned OF Ryan Kalish to Triple-A Iowa. … Tim Hudson (4-2, 2.13 ERA) takes the mound for the Giants opposite Chicago’s Jake Arrieta (1-0, 2.33) on Tuesday.
Updated May 26, 2014
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