5/26 Cubs 8, Giants 4
Jeff Samardzija got an unexpected but very welcome beer shower after Monday’s win, his first after 16 straight winless starts. The Cubs beat the Giants, 8-4, and Samardzija helped himself, striking out 10, hitting a RBI double, and scoring the go-ahead run. Nate Schierholtz hit his first homer of the season and Darwin Barney drove in two runs.
“It was nice to get him the first win before June,” Barney said. “I think it was on his mind a little more than he put out just by how happy he was today and the fashion that it went down.”
Samardzija entered the game with the lowest ERA through the first 10 starts of a season by any pitcher who didn’t have a win in Major League history. His ERA is now 1.68, which would be second in the Majors to the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright (1.67).
“People try to downplay the record thing but as a starting pitcher, I think it’s important,” said Samardzija, who has handled the lack of wins better than anyone. “I care, I want to keep working hard and come out every day and try to get a win. That’s all you can do.”
The Cubs hadn’t given Samardzija any run support, but that changed Monday. Seven of the nine Chicago starters drove in a run, including the pitcher himself. In the fifth, the Cubs had runners at first and third with one out when Barney hit a sacrifice fly. Samardzija followed with an RBI double to tie the game at 3, and then scored on Emilio Bonifacio’s triple.
“I’ve said before, we count, too, as outs,” Samardzija said of pitchers. “Part of it’s on your shoulders, too. I got a 2-0 pitch I could handle and put a good hit on it.”
“It’s a relief for everybody,” Rick Renteria said. “Today there were big contributions by everybody in the ballgame. [Samardzija] certainly helped himself at the plate and gave us a chance to win a ballgame.”
What was it like for the Giants’ hitters? Hector Sanchez said Samardzija has “gasoline in his arm.”
– Carrie Muskat