CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox offense had no answer for Jeff Samardzija.
Samardzija tossed a complete game, two-hit shutout and the Cubs beat the White Sox 7-0 on Monday.
"Obviously he threw well, he was the story of the game," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "You know, you just tip your hat to him. He was dominant. That's a great start for him and that's all you can really say about that one. They had some guys swing the bats as well, but that was kind of secondary to what he was doing out there."
It was Samardzija's (3-6) first career shutout and the Cubs' first complete game shutout since Randy Wells against 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 on a Conor Gillaspie single in the third inning. Samardzija then got Jeff Keppinger to hit into a double play as he faced the minimum number of hitters through four innings.
Samardzija went on to retire 18 of 19 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.
"Sometimes you got to tip your cap," Gillaspie said. "A guy is throwing mid-upper 90s with off-speed stuff like he's throwing. It wasn't like he was bouncing it. He was throwing it for strikes. For me, personally, I'm tipping my cap."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said it was the best stuff his team had seen since New York Mets star Matt Harvey held the White Sox to one hit on May 7.
Monday's loss kicked off four straight games for the White Sox against the cross-town rival Cubs and Ventura was happy to know his team wouldn't have to face Samardzija again this season.
"Yeah he was very good tonight," Ventura said. "You look at the at-bats, a lot of swing and miss. Even when we hit some it wasn't really hit hard. There might have been a couple in there. You just tip your hat. He was good. He was as good as anyone we've seen."
The Cubs' offense was able to back Samardzija as they got to White Sox starter Jose Quintana early.
With one out in the first inning, Quintana walked Starlin Castro then struck out Anthony Rizzo as Castro was attempting to steal second. Flowers was unable to throw to second because Ramirez forgot to cover second base. Alfonso Soriano followed with a single off the left field wall to score Castro.
Quintana (3-2) allowed four runs and four hits in six innings, striking out five and allowing three walks. The White Sox lost for only the second time in seven games and failed to get over .500 for the first time since April 9 when they were 4-3.
In the fifth inning, Julio 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 doubled and hit a two-run triple in his first Crosstown Classic and Soriano added three hits.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum has seen plenty of strong pitching from his starters this season, but this outing was clearly at the top of his list.
"We've had some good (starts), don't get me wrong, (Scott) Feldman has had a couple of good ones," Sveum said. "But when you throw a two-hit shutout and walk only (two guys) with that kind of stuff. Ninety-seven from the first pitch to the last ... you are not going to see that too often in the big leagues."
Samardzija, a native of Northwest Indiana, thrived in this rivalry game.
"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."
Notes: Cubs prospect Albert Almora, playing at Class A Kane County, left the game early after appearing to hurt his left leg while playing defense. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said early reports were that it was a hamstring injury. ... 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. ... 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.