Jeff Samardzija was at home pitching on the South Side.Samardzija threw a two-hit shutout and Julio Borbon hit a two-run home run and the Cubs beat the 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.When ‘prime’ series have ‘no juice,’ interleague play loses its value.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,” 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 home run and the first RBI 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—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……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.