Armed with their longest winning streak since 2011, the Chicago Cubs send Jeff Samardzija to the mound Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the continuation of a three-game set at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs, coming off a 7-2 triumph yesterday, have won five in a row for the first time since a seven-game run from July 31-Aug. 6 of the 2011 campaign.
Samardzija is coming off his first career shutout, a two-hitter against the White Sox Monday. The right-hander has given up only a total of three runs over his last three starts, covering 24 innings. He's 0-1 in six games (1 start) against the Diamondbacks.
Ian Kennedy, who is unbeaten in his last three starts, gets the call for Arizona. The right-hander hasn't pitched since May 21 when he threw six innings in a no-decision at Colorado. Kennedy is 2-2 with a 6.94 ERA in six career starts against the Cubs.
Yesterday, Scott Hairston hit a grand slam and Matt Garza tossed seven solid frames to pick up his first win of the season.
Garza (1-0), who extended his own streak of allowing three or fewer earned runs to 19 consecutive home starts dating back to June 27, 2011, yielded both Arizona runs on six hits while striking out four in the victory.
"I was more pumped about going deep, I wanted to keep going," Garza said of his first win of the season. "I'm pumped to get it out of the way."
Alfonso Soriano provided a two-run homer and Cody Ransom added a solo shot for the Cubs, who have won a season-high five straight following a six-game losing skid.
Wade Miley (3-5) was charged for all seven Chicago runs over seven frames with seven strikeouts in the setback. Didi Gregorius had a sacrifice fly and Miguel Montero hit an RBI double for the Diamondbacks, who have dropped four straight road contests.
The D'backs won five of nine matchups with the Cubs last season.