Cubs to bank on Samardzija vs. Angels

The Chicago Cubs went home-run happy against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Tuesday night.

But if Jeff Samardzija can't correct the issues from his last start, it could be the Angels teeing off on Wednesday night in the finale of a quick two-game series at Wrigley Field.

The right-handed Samardzija, who faces the Angels for the first time, has allowed four earned runs or more in three of his past six starts. He is still a solid 5-8 with a 3.54 earned run average through 18 starts this season, but is coming off a loss to Pittsburgh on Friday.

Samardzija was charged with five runs on nine hits and a season-high five walks over six innings of the 6-2 setback.

"As a whole, my ball was up in the zone. I went back and watched the film ... just everything was up in the zone," said Samardzija.

Though he did not allow a homer to the Pirates, a repeat of Tuesday's weather conditions could lead to trouble if he can't get the ball down.

Chicago took advantage of a hot and windy day at Wrigley Field on Tuesday to go deep five times in a 7-2 victory, the Cubs' fourth in a row.

Alfonso Soriano led the charge with a pair of solo homers and the 37-year-old is hitting .400 over his past 11 games with eight homers and 17 RBI.

"To do what he's doing again, carrying a ballclub at a time when we really needed it offensively with the way our guys have been pitching, is tremendous," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Soriano's surge.

Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro also had solo shots, while Darwin Barney connected on a big three-run blast.

That was more than enough offense for Travis Wood, who gave up just a two-run homer to Albert Pujols over his 6 2/3 innings. It marked his 17th quality start in 18 outings this season and he is the first Cubs pitcher to reach that number before the All-Star break since Greg Maddux in 1988.

Angels starter Joe Blanton was tagged for six runs on eight hits and three walks over five-plus frames to absorb the loss. He matched a career high by yielding four homers.

"Not a good game for Joe," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his starter. "He just didn't have enough good counts that he could have enough chances to get guys. The home runs certainly factored in."

Pujols' two-run shot in the seventh accounted for all the offense for the Angels, who had won their last seven road games and failed to move to within a game of .500.

Los Angeles lost for only the third time in its past 13 games.

The Angels hope to rebound Wednesday behind C.J. Wilson, who had won four straight starts prior to a 6-2 loss against the Boston Red Sox on Friday. Wilson, though, pitched well and allowed three runs over 6 2/3 frames, but only one of those was earned.

Wilson did yield 10 hits and walked two in his first setback since a loss at Boston on June 8.

"C.J. had terrific stuff," Scioscia said of his starter. "Unfortunately we didn't make plays in the field and didn't support him offensively."

The 32-year-old southpaw fell to 8-6 with a 3.49 ERA in 18 starts this season and is 0-1 lifetime versus the Cubs with a 5.87 ERA in two meetings (1 start).

The Angels and Cubs split a two-game series in Anaheim from June 4-5 and Chicago now leads the all-time series 5-4. L.A. is visiting Wrigley Field for the first time since June of 2010.