Cubs’ 3rd option fine
Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 7:00 pm
By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jeff Samardzija began the season as the Chicago Cubs’ No. 1 starter practically by default thanks to injuries to veterans Matt Garza and Scott Baker.
Don’t expect the quickly improving Samardzija to give up the spot anytime soon.
The lanky right-hander allowed just two hits and struck out nine over eight nearly flawless innings as the Cubs held off the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1 on Monday for their first opening day victory in four years.
“He stuck to his game plan,” Chicago manager Dale Sveum said. “That was probably as good of a game that he’s pitched in his starting career.”
Samardzija’s only real issue came in the first, when a walk and an error put two runners on with nobody out. A fielder’s choice and two strikeouts later Samardzija was out of the jam. At one point he retired 14 straight batters, almost all of them on strikeouts or routine groundballs.
“When they’re making plays behind you it gives you the confidence to really kind of make stuff up out there, keep the ball down in the zone and you know they’re going to make some plays for me like they did all day for me,” Samardzija said.
Pittsburgh only managed two balls out of the infield while Samardzija was on the hill as he improved to 4-0 in his short career against the Pirates.
Published in The Messenger 4.2.13