4/7 Samardzija sets K high
Jeff Samardzija set a career high with 13 strikeouts Sunday against the Braves.
B.J. Upton reached on an infield single that handcuffed second baseman Alberto Gonzalez. Samardzija then struck out six in a row before Ramiro Pena grounded out to start the third. That put Samardzija two Ks shy of the Cubs record for consecutive strikeouts of eight, done by three pitchers, most recently Juan Cruz in 2003.
Samardzija got Tim Hudson looking at strike three, walked B.J. Upton, and then fanned Jason Heyward on a slider to end the third. He added two more strikeouts in the fourth to reach 10, then got Juan Francisco swinging at a slider for No. 11, which was his previous high. Jason Heyward swung and missed a splitter in the fifth for No. 12, and Justin Upton was called out on a fastball to start the sixth for strikeout No. 13.
Last July 2 against the Braves at Turner Field, Samardzija struck out 11 over seven innings, and that game got him started on a good roll. He finished the year with a 2.58 ERA in his final 13 games. Samardzija also fanned 11 on Aug. 13 against the Astros.
– Carrie Muskat