Jeff Samardzija tries to win three consecutive starts for the first time in his career on Saturday when the Chicago Cubs continue a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
After beating St. Louis on June 18, Samardzija defeated Houston on Sunday, holding the hapless Astros to four runs (3 earned) and nine hits in seven innings. He also struck out five without walking a batter and improved to 5-7 go along with a 3.39 ERA.
"Anytime I don't walk somebody, usually the outcome is in the positive side of things," said Samardzija, who did not issue a free pass for the first time this season. "I attacked the zone, had a couple of three-ball counts, just wanted to stay there and not give any freebies up."
Seattle, meanwhile, will counter with righty Aaron Harang, who is 3-7 with a 5.29 ERA. Harang did not get a decision last Saturday against Oakland, as he allowed three runs and six hits in five innings of a 7-5 win.
Harang has faced the Cubs 26 times and is 11-8 versus them with a 4.40 ERA.
In Friday's opener, Mike Zunino drove in the game-winning run in the 10th inning to lift Seattle to a 5-4 win.
Blake Parker (0-1) walked Michael Saunders and Raul Ibanez to open the 10th frame. Jason Bay then cued a sacrifice bunt to third to move the runners into scoring position. Shawn Camp, who replaced Parker, intentionally walked Justin Smoak to load the bases. Zunino worked a full count before ripping the game- winning hit up the middle.
Yoervis Medina (3-2) earned the win after tossing a scoreless 10th inning.
Nick Franklin went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a run scored and Ibanez cracked an RBI triple for the Mariners, winners in three of their last five games. Bay had a solo homer in the victory.
"We had better at-bats as the game went on. Their guy did a good job keeping us off balance, but it was good to see the bats get better later on. That's what we like to see," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge.
Alfonso Soriano and Dioner Navarro each clubbed solo homers and Ryan Sweeney added an RBI triple for the Cubs, who lost for only the second time in five tries.
Chicago and Seattle are meeting for the first since the Mariners won two of three matchups in the Emerald City in 2010.