This week's Crosstown Classic will have a different format - one that seems odd to both the Chicago White Sox's and Chicago Cubs ' managers.
In the past, these rivals played separate three-game sets in their parks that captivated the Windy City, but as part of the "prime rivals" portion of interleague play, all four of the teams' 2013 matchups take place this week beginning Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox (24-24) have won four of six in each of the four previous seasons against the Cubs, but three victories will be enough to capture bragging rights this time. The first two games are on the South Side before contests Wednesday and Thursday at Wrigley Field.
"It's nice that we've got four days that we're going to be at home but as far as two and two, that's just the way the schedule is," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum echoed a similar theme.
"It's such a strange circumstance to play four games in, obviously, the same city but in two different parks," Sveum told the Cubs' official website. "There's no other way to do it now, and there's nothing you can do about it. But it's kind of funny how it comes that way with the crosstown rivals."
The White Sox are probably more excited about this week, having won nine of 12 to reach .500 for the first time since April 10.
"They're fun games, I think the fans enjoy them, it's great for the city so we're looking forward to it," Ventura said.
The Cubs (19-30) return to Chicago on a positive note after ending a season-high six-game slide with a 5-4, 10-inning victory over Cincinnati on Sunday. Alfonso Soriano hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth inning and Welington Castillo had a go-ahead double in the 10th as the Cubs rallied from a 4-0 deficit after six.
Soriano has been productive as a visitor in this rivalry, hitting .316 with five homers to help the Cubs win eight of their last 15 at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox's Adam Dunn , by contrast, is 4 for 35 with two solo homers and 17 strikeouts in his 11 games in this series, although he's still looking forward to it.
"I think it's fun for everyone," Dunn said. "It's fun for the fans, but it's a lot of fun for us. I know that the stadium will have electricity and it will be pretty much of a playoff atmosphere."
The Cubs' Jeff Samardzija (2-6, 3.25 ERA) has gone 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in three career interleague starts, including a 3-2 loss to the White Sox on May 18, 2012 in which he gave up three runs in 7 1-3 innings. The right-hander has posted a 4.40 ERA and received seven runs of support in losing his last five road outings.
The Cubs are 4-10 against left-handed starters as they face Jose Quintana (3-1, 3.48) for the first time. Quintana pitched 6 1-3 scoreless innings to earn a 3-1 home victory over Boston on Tuesday.
Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo will take part in this rivalry for the first time. Rizzo went 4 for 8 in his last two games and leads the club with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs.
|Alejandro De Aza||4||.000||0||0||0||0||3||.000||.000||.000|
|May 26, 2013||Kyuji Fujikawa||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right forearm strain|
|May 22, 2013||Shawn Camp||15-Day DL||Sprained right big toe|
|April 14, 2013||Steve Clevenger||60-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|April 13, 2013||Steve Clevenger||Day-to-Day||Left oblique injury|
|April 13, 2013||Kyuji Fujikawa||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm|
|April 13, 2013||Kyuji Fujikawa||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm|
|Chicago White Sox|
|May 22, 2013||Chris Sale||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder tendinitis|
|May 02, 2013||Dewayne Wise||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|May 02, 2013||Jake Peavy||Day-to-Day||Back spasms|
|April 28, 2013||Gavin Floyd||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|April 22, 2013||Hector Gimenez||Day-to-Day||Left shin|
|April 19, 2013||Dayan Viciedo||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Jeff Samardzija was at home pitching on the South Side.
Samardzija threw a complete game, two-hit shutout and Julio Borbon hit a two-run home run and the Chicago Cubs beat the Chicago White Sox 7-0 on Monday.
Samardzija (3-6) pitched the Cubs' first complete game shutout since Randy Wells shut out the Giants on Aug. 29, 2011. The last time the Cubs shut out an opponent as a team came against the Rockies on Aug. 26, 2012.
The first White Sox hit came from Conor Gillaspie in the third inning. Samardzija then got Jeff Keppinger to hit into a double play as he faced the minimum through four innings.
He struck out Alejandro De Aza to end the sixth. He then retired 12 straight before giving up a walk to Tyler Flowers in the ninth inning.
He bounced back by striking out De Aza, then after a single to Alexei Ramirez , he got Alex Rios to pop out to end the game.
The once anticipated interleague series in Chicago lost some of its luster with the fans as the Cubs entered the game in last place in the NL Central and the White Sox are struggling to play .500. The announced attendance was 30,631 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Samardzija who grew up in Northwest Indiana, enjoys pitching against the White Sox.
"I love this place," Samardzija said. "I loved coming here to watch games here as a kid. I loved watching these guys play for a long time. "I've always been a fan, so to come here and to have my whole family here, 30 minutes from home from my backyard, it's fun. I love being here. I love the atmosphere here. I love these games against the White Sox, they are always fun, unfortunately they cut them down to four. This is what baseball is all about, these rivalry games,"
"You got the smell of the steel mills in the background, it's not the most beautiful scent in the world, but it smells like home."
Anthony Rizzo doubled and hit a two-run triple in his first Crosstown Classic and Alfonso Soriano added three hits as the Cubs won two in a row after losing six straight.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum was impressed by how Samardzija featured his fastball.
"Sometimes he reverts back to probably thinking a little too much instead of just knowing what he is. He is a big-time power guy," Sveum said. "You guys saw his split-finger pitch tonight, it is pretty much a non-hittable pitch when he is committed it and throwing it like that. Not that he's not a pitcher, but sometimes he wants to be this pitcher that is pitching like a Greg Maddux . He is not that kind of a pitcher."
It was Samardzija's first career shutout.
"I am going out with the mindset to pitch deep in every game. If you want to be one of the guys the team turns to in a big situation, that's the number one thing, pitch deep into games and give your offense a chance to win the game. We saw what happened tonight."
White Sox starter Jose Quintana (3-2) allowed four runs and four hits. He struck out five and allowed three walks.
The White Sox lost for the second time in seven games.
With one out in the first inning, Quintana walked Starlin Castro then struck out Rizzo as Castro was attempting to steal second. Flowers was unable to throw to second because Ramirez forgot to cover second base. Soriano followed with a single off the left field wall to score Castro.
"Again, I don't know if it was the pitcher who made us flat, but there was enough of a lack of focus that needs to be there," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
In the fifth inning, Borbon hit a two-run shot to right on the first pitch. It was his first homer and the first RBIs of the season.
Rizzo led off the sixth with a double and scored on Scott Hairston 's sacrifice fly to make it 4-0. In the seventh, Rizzo hit a two-run triple off the center field wall and scored on Soriano's single to extend the Cubs lead to 7-0.
White Sox reliever Nate Jones allowed three runs and four hits in the seventh inning.
"Right now he needs to fix it here," Ventura said. "We've seen it. It's there. I don't know if it's the lack of confidence or what. Stuff-wise, it's not a velocity issue at all. It's going to be more location and the confidence of being able to continue to do that."
NOTES: White Sox ace Chris Sale is on schedule to start Tuesday night against the Cubs after missing his previous start because of tendinitis in his left shoulder. The left-hander had no setbacks after a bullpen session on Sunday. ... RHP Edwin Jackson is the Cubs scheduled starter Tuesday. He is 1-7 with a 6.11 ERA on the season and is 1-4 with a 6.60 ERA in his career against the White Sox.