Offense continues to come at a premium for the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium, and it likely won't come any easier Tuesday night.
Adam Wainwright takes the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals trying to win a sixth straight start as he faces Chicago.
The Cubs (28-40) managed only one run and 16 hits while being swept in three games at St. Louis last July 20-22 in their most recent visit before this week. They didn't fare much better in the series opener Monday night, scraping together five hits in a 5-2 loss. Chicago is 1 for 17 with runners in scoring position in its last four road games versus the Cardinals (45-25).
The Cubs have lost 10 of 15 and are batting .203 in the last 11.
"It's tough for the team," starter Travis Wood said Monday after giving up four runs over seven innings. "We're scratching and clawing trying to get everything we can right now and trying to put together quality ball games."
Wainwright (10-3, 2.18 ERA) continues to shut down opponents, compiling a 1.64 ERA while notching a victory in each of his past five outings.
He became baseball's first 10-game winner Thursday against the Mets, not showing any sign of disruption from shortened pregame preparation as an expected rain delay never came to fruition. The right-hander yielded four hits and two walks over seven shutout innings, outdueling Matt Harvey in a 2-1 victory.
"My whole pregame routine was kind of thrown out of the window," said Wainwright, who recorded his 1,000th career strikeout.
A few weeks ago, this might have looked like one of baseball's premier pitching matchups, but Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (3-7, 3.46) has struggled more recently. He's 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA over his last three starts, walking nine batters in 18 1-3 innings, compared to a 2-1 record and 1.13 ERA in his previous three.
He didn't provide much reason for optimism in his most recent start, surrendering a season-high 10 hits and five runs across six innings Thursday against the Reds, though Chicago won 6-5 in 14 innings.
"I'm more upset with the leadoff singles and leadoff walk," Samardzija told the team's official website after issuing four walks. "Those walks come back to haunt you, and I think a couple of them scored today. You want to get that first hitter out, and that's what they did a good job of today was to get me in the stretch early and make me stay there."
Samardzija has seen mixed results versus the Cardinals, owning a 3-2 mark and 4.95 ERA in 16 games - five starts. He won his last game at Busch Stadium despite giving up five runs and 10 hits over five innings as the Cubs emerged with a 9-5 victory April 13, 2012.
Wainwright is 6-5 with a 4.47 ERA in 18 career starts versus the Cubs, but they've given him some trouble recently. He's 1-2 with a 5.25 ERA over the last six. Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro are a combined 10 for 29 against him while Anthony Rizzo is 3 for 6.
No current Cardinal has homered off Samardzija in 96 at-bats, though Yadier Molina is 7 for 15 against him.
Molina had his eighth multihit effort in 13 games Monday, including a two-run double, and leads the NL with a .355 average.
|June 15, 2013||David DeJesus||15-Day DL||Right shoulder sprain|
|June 14, 2013||David DeJesus||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right shoulder|
|June 12, 2013||Zach Putnam||15-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
|June 11, 2013||Zach Putnam||Day-to-Day||Left game - Undisclosed injury|
|May 27, 2013||Kyuji Fujikawa||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|May 27, 2013||Rafael Dolis||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|May 26, 2013||John Gast||15-Day DL||Left shoulder tightness|
|May 26, 2013||Carlos Beltran||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder soreness|
|May 25, 2013||John Gast||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shoulder tightness|
|May 21, 2013||Fernando Salas||15-Day DL||Right shoulder irritation|
|May 18, 2013||Jaime Garcia||60-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|May 09, 2013||Jake Westbrook||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jeff Samardzija hopes his traditional June swoon is a thing of the past.
Samardzija picked up first career win as a starter in his most unlucky month, tossing 8 1-3 strong innings to help the Chicago Cubs to a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
Samardzija (4-7) came into the contest winless in eight June starts - he was 2-8 with a 7.14 ERA, with both victories coming in relief.
"I really want to knock this June bugaboo," he said. "I've been working really hard and I like where I am today."
Samardzija gave up two runs on seven hits and left with a 4-1 lead. He struck out six and walked one for his first win since May 27.
Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ransom hit back-to-back homers in a four-run first as Chicago broke a five-game losing streak in St. Louis.
The Cubs started fast against Adam Wainwright (10-4) and won for the fourth time in six games.
Carlos Beltran hit his team-high 17th homer for the Cardinals, who lost for the third time in five games but still lead the majors with a 45-26 record.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum was especially impressed with his starter.
"He was as good as he's been all year against the best offense in baseball," he said. "If you can do that to them, you've had one heck of a game."
Said Sweeney: "Watching from center field, he was unbelievable."
"He was keeping hitters off balance and still throwing 96 to 97 (mph) in the ninth inning," he said.
Kevin Gregg picked up his 10th save in as many opportunities. He got David Freese to ground into a strange game-ending double play. Pinch-runner Shane Robinson was called out for interference while trying to break up the play at second.
Robinson was ruled to have gone out of the way to hinder the relay throw from shortstop Starlin Castro .
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny agreed with the call by umpire crew chief Fieldin Culbreth.
"He got it right," Matheny said. "It's just frustrating to see the game end like that."
The Cardinals cut the lead to 4-2 on an RBI single by Yadier Molina with one out in the ninth. Matt Holliday and Allen Craig singled with one out to chase Samardzija.
Gregg, after giving up the hit to Molina, induced Freese to hit a hot shot right at second baseman Darwin Barney , who started the double play.
Freese hit into three double plays and also struck out.
The Cubs' first-inning runs all came after two outs. Nate Schierholtz and Alfonso Soriano hit consecutive singles before Sweeney unloaded with his second homer of the season to make it 3-0. Ransom followed with his eighth homer.
"We just got on them early," Sweeney said. "Thankful enough that we did. If you don't get to a guy like that, he'll bear down and then you can't score any runs."
The Cubs tied a season high with four runs in the first - they also did it in the first inning of a 10-7 loss to San Francisco on April 14.
Wainwright, who was trying to become the majors' first 11-game winner, gave up back-to-back homers for the third time in his career. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits over seven innings.
Wainwright had won his previous five starts, but has not beaten the Cubs since Sept. 24, 2010. He had given up a total of four first-inning runs over his first 14 starts this season.
"It was unforgivable," Wainwright said. "I put my team in a really tough spot."
Samardzija never let a runner past second base in the first five innings and was helped out by three double plays.
"What else can you ask for?" Samardzija said. "Great defense. And the icing on the cake were those four runs in the first."
Beltran homered off the right-field foul pole with two outs in the sixth. Molina went 3 for 3 and leads the NL with a .367 average.
NOTES: Schierholtz has hit safely in a career-best 10 straight games. ... St. Louis OF Jon Jay has gone 215 successive games without making an error in center. He is second in team history behind Curt Flood (226). Jay last made an error on Aug. 24, 2011. His streak is the longest current run in the NL. .... Chicago signed LHP Rob Zastryzny, their second-round draft choice. ... St. Louis rookie right-hander Shelby Miller (8-4, 2.08) left after five innings of Monday's 5-2 win due to cramps caused by dehydration. He will not miss a start. ... Chicago pitchers have a league-leading 22 RBI this season.... The Cardinals signed LHP Rob Kaminsky, their second first-round selection. The 28th overall pick, Kaminsky is from St. Joseph's Regional High in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.