(Sunday, April 8th)
Final Score: Chicago 4, Washington 3
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Jeff Samardzija nearly finished the game while Alfonso Soriano added two RBI as the Chicago Cubs avoided the sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals with a 4-3 win.
Samardzija (1-0) pitched into the ninth inning, but was pulled with two outs after he got into trouble. He gave up three runs -- one earned -- on four hits with eight strikeouts while Carlos Marmol retired the last batter for his first save of the season.
"You look like a genius when the guys behind you are making the plays they did today," said Samardzija. "They played great behind me and came up with the clutch runs. They made my job very easy today."
Starlin Castro had two hits, an RBI and two runs scored while Ian Stewart also drove in a run for the Cubs, who got two doubles from Bryan LaHair.
Jordan Zimmermann (0-1) gave up two runs -- one earned -- on six hits with four strikeouts over seven innings in the loss for the Nationals, who got a two-run home run from Adam LaRoche in the ninth to make it close.
"I was able to locate my fastball pretty well and the curve and slider were both there today," said Zimmermann. "I felt comfortable out there today and felt good throwing everything."
The game stayed scoreless until the fourth when Castro hit a single, stole second and moved to third on a passed ball and came home on a sacrifice fly from Soriano to give Chicago the lead.
The Nationals tied the game in the sixth as Wilson Ramos led off with a single, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt followed by a single and came home on a sacrifice fly from Danny Espinosa.
The Cubs took the lead back in the sixth as Darwin Barney hit a one-out double and Soriano later singled to left for a 2-1 lead.
In the eighth with Ryan Mattheus on the mound for Washington, David DeJesus led off with a walk and, following a strikeout from Barney, Castro doubled him home. Castro then stole third and Soriano was issued a free pass. Sean Burnett then took the mound and Stewart singled home Castro for a 4-1 lead.
Samardzija stayed on for the ninth and got the first two batters out, but Ryan Zimmerman reached base on a bad throw from Castro and LaRoche followed with a shot over the right field wall.
Marmol then took the mound and put the tying run on first when he walked Jayson Werth, but he got Xavier Nady to foul out and end the game.
The Cubs host Milwaukee for four games starting on Monday...Washington travels to New York for three games against the Mets beginning on Monday...Jordan Zimmermann fell to 0-3 in four games against the Cubs.
04/08 18:47:15 ET