He also watched as the Cubs squandered a victory after a stellar first inning in their series opener with the San Diego Padres .
Visiting Chicago looks to avoid a fifth consecutive loss Saturday night as it faces a Padres team seeking a fifth victory in seven games.
They wouldn't score again, though, as San Diego rallied for an 8-6 victory. Chicago became the first team to score six runs before an out was made and lose since Pittsburgh's 9-8 loss to Cincinnati on May 18, 2006."It's not the ideal start, but there is nine innings of baseball left and anything can happen," said Padres infielder Jedd Gyorko , who hit a pair of homers and drove in a career-high four runs. "We had great at-bats up and down the lineup."
The Cubs have dropped six of seven, with Samardzija (7-11, 4.12 ERA) recording the only victory Monday against Washington. After Chicago gave him only four total runs over his previous four starts, Samardzija benefited greatly from the offense scoring three runs in the first, saying it helped him settle down.
Samardzija had gone 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA over his previous three starts before tossing a six-hitter in the 11-1 win.
"All the hard work I do in the offseason and during the year, to see it paying off with feeling good in the eighth and ninth inning and 100 pitches is what it's all about," Samardzija said.
The right-hander struck out eight and gave up three runs in five innings of Chicago's 5-3 win over the Padres on April 29, and he's 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA in three career starts against them.
San Diego (58-70) has won five straight home meetings with the Cubs after Will Venable went 3 for 4 with three RBIs on Friday, including a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh.
The Padres look to win a third straight with help from Eric Stults , who is seeking his first victory since beating San Francisco on July 14.
Stults (8-10, 3.70) is 0-3 with a 4.75 ERA over his last six starts after giving up three runs in 6 2-3 innings of San Diego's 4-3 win over the New York Mets on Sunday.
"I felt better than I did in my last start in Colorado," said Stults, referring to when he allowed five runs and 11 hits in 4 2-3 innings Aug. 13. "It's always nice to be at home."
The left-hander has seemed to feel that way all season, going 5-2 with a 2.50 ERA in 12 starts at Petco Park as opposed to 3-8 with a 4.93 ERA on the road.
Stults gave up two runs in 6 2-3 innings of the Padres' 4-2 win May 2 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs rank 28th in the majors against left-handers this season, hitting .230, and Saturday will be their first look at a southpaw starter in 16 games.
|August 08, 2013||Matt Guerrier||60-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
|August 08, 2013||Thomas Neal||60-Day DL||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2013||Thomas Neal||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2013||Dioner Navarro||Day-to-Day||Right ankle contusion|
|August 03, 2013||Luis Valbuena||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|July 15, 2013||Brian Bogusevic||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|San Diego Padres|
|July 31, 2013||Carlos Quentin||15-Day DL||Right knee strain|
|July 23, 2013||Carlos Quentin||Day-to-Day||Sore right wrist|
|July 20, 2013||Jason Marquis||60-Day DL||Strained right elbow|
|July 12, 2013||Kyle Blanks||15-Day DL||Left Achilles tendinitis|
|July 07, 2013||Yasmani Grandal||60-Day DL||Right knee sprain|
|June 22, 2013||Clayton Richard||60-Day DL||Left shoulder surgery - out for season|
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Jeff Samardzija knew what Cubs manager Dale Sveum was doing by not visiting the mound in the eighth inning.
Sveum left Samardzija on his own when he wriggled out of two bases-loaded jams in the inning, and the Cubs beat the San Diego Padres 3-2 Saturday night.
"Me and Dale might have had a meeting if he would have taken me out right down there in the dugout," Samardzija joked. "But that's what Dale is all about. Dale is all about putting confidence in players. There are a lot of under the radar things he does that puts confidence in his players. He did it for me there, too. He didn't even have a mound visit or anything. As a player, that says a lot."
Said Sveum about his decision: "He bared down and got two huge outs. That's why you leave a guy like that in the game."
In his second straight solid outing, Samardzija (8-11) limited the damage to one run in the decisive eighth when the Padres twice loaded the bases and cut the lead to one run.
Darwin Barney homered and drove in two runs for Chicago, which broke a four-game losing streak. In the Cubs' last eight games, their only two wins have come in Samardzija's starts.
"Tip my hat to Barney, too, for giving me those two runs," Samardzija said. "When you have a two-run cushion instead of one, it helps."
Trailing 3-1 heading into the eighth inning, pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay led off with a walk and went to second on Will Venable 's single. The Padres loaded the bases when Alexi Amarista 's sacrifice bunt attempt hugged the third base line but stayed fair for a hit.
Yonder Alonso followed with a sacrifice fly. But Samardzija got rookie Jedd Gyorko on a fly out. After a passed ball, Samardzija intentionally walked Chase Headley to load the bases. He then struck out Logan Forsythe to end the inning.
"I thought from their standpoint, (Samardzija) is their guy," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He was throwing the ball well. He wobbled a little bit there but he hung in there and threw strikes."
Samardzija allowed two runs on seven hits. The right-hander struck out seven and walked two.
Samardzija threw a six-hitter in his last start, an 11-1 win over Washington last Sunday.
The light-hitting Barney, who had three hits, connected for a solo shot in the fifth inning and added a go-ahead RBI double in the Cubs' two-run seventh.
Barney, hitting .221, equaled his career high with his seventh homer and first since July 14.
Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 30 chances.
Eric Stults (8-11), winless in his last seven starts, gave up three runs on six hits in 6 1-3 innings. The lefty is 0-4 since his last win on July 14.
The Cubs went ahead 2-1 in the seventh after a leadoff walk to Darnell McDonald . With one out, Barney hit a ball into the left field corner. As McDonald rounded third, Forsythe took the relay throw on the grass just behind third base.
But Forsythe's throw sailed high into the stands behind home plate, allowing Barney to go to third. Anthony Rizzo followed with a two-out RBI single.
Barney homered with one out in the fifth inning, his seventh, to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. The ball just barely cleared the left field wall, landing in the first row.
Venable tied the score 1-all with his 19th home run in the sixth. Venable, who extended his career high with his homer and had three hits, has hit safely in 19 of 20 games.
NOTES: Fourteen of Venable's 19 homers have come at pitching friendly Petco Park. ... Stults was the first lefty starter the Cubs have faced in 16 games. ... Barney's home run was Chicago's 400th extra-base hit this season. The Cubs have 403, tops in the NL. ... Padres OF-1B Kyle Blanks , on the DL since July 12 with left Achilles inflammation, will play in a rehab game Sunday with Triple-A Tucson. ... Cubs C Welington Castillo (sore rib) missed his third straight start but is expected back in the lineup on Sunday. ... Cubs LHP Chris Rusin (2-3, 3.08 ERA) faces Padres righty Andrew Cashner (8-8, 3.74) in Sunday's finale.