5/5 White Sox 3, Cubs 1 (12 innings)
Jeff Samardzija struck out seven over nine innings, made the pitches when he needed, hit, scored a run, fielded his position, and lowered his ERA to 1.62. But it wasn’t enough for the win. Marcus Semien smacked a tiebreaking RBI double with two outs in the 12th inning to lift the White Sox to a 3-1 Interleague victory Monday night over their crosstown rivals, the Cubs.
With the game tied at 1 and two outs in the 12th against Justin Grimm, Alexei Ramirez singled to right and stole second. Tyler Flowers walked, and Semien lined a double down the left-field line. Pinch-hitter Paul Konerko was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Grimm walked Alejandro De Aza to force in another run.
The story of the game was Samardzija. The right-hander threw a career-high 126 pitches, but his last was one of his best as he got Dayan Viciedo to hit into an inning-ending double play and strand a runner in the ninth in front of 33,146 chilled fans at Wrigley Field. This was the right-hander’s seventh start, and sixth quality start. He’s still looking for that first “W.”
“I was pretty hungry for that one,” Samardzija said.
The Cubs did everything they could. Manager Rick Renteria let Samardzija bat for himself in the eighth.
“What a great outing — gritty, gutsy, everything you could ask for,” Renteria said of the effort. “We wanted that game for him but we couldn’t pull it out.”
Samardzija may be frustrated but he hasn’t shown it.
“You do your job,” he said. “I’m just going out and doing my job and doing my part to win a ballgame. I can’t control things on the outside. It’s not my job. Every fifth day is my job and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
That’s what he told Renteria in the clubhouse after the game.
“[Samardzija] said, ‘Hey, every time. Every time I go out there, that’s what I’m going to do,'” Renteria said. “He’s doing what he’s supposed to do as a Major League pitcher. He’s giving us a great chance to win a ballgame. Today was a fantastic effort on his part.”
* Samardzija is the first Cubs pitcher to go nine innings and not record a complete game since Matt Garza did so Sept. 26, 2011, against the Astros.
– Carrie Muskat