CHICAGO – A day after the Chicago Cubs enjoyed the Anthony Rizzo hype, reality set in.
Jeff Samardzija was hammered for a career-high nine runs and the New York Mets routed the Cubs 17-1 Wednesday to avoid a three-game sweep at Wrigley Field.
The Mets' first seven hits went for extra bases, six of them off Samardzija (5-7). He also walked four batters in 4 1-3 innings.
Daniel Murphy homered twice, Scott Hairston hit a grand slam and David Wright drove in five runs for the Mets.
Ike Davis had a three-run homer and an RBI double as he combined with Murphy, Hairston and Wright to drive in all 17 runs — with each having at least four RBIs — to help the Mets snap a four-game losing streak.
"The walks are unacceptable, especially with the conditions we had today," said Samardzija, citing the hitter-friendly wind. "If you're gonna give up home runs, they have to be solo home runs. You just can't put those guys on base for free. Every guy that got on base for free scored."
He dropped to 0-4 with an 11.29 ERA over his last four starts after going 3-2 with a 2.26 ERA in eight starts from April 24 to June 4.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Samardzija's rotation spot is not in peril.
"I'd be lying if I weren't concerned a little bit with the numbers, and the execution of pitches obviously hasn't been too good for four or five starts now," Sveum said. "We have a plan, and when things go awry for a few starts, you obviously don't jump the gun."
Casey Coleman fared no better in relief, allowing seven runs in 1 2-3 innings.
The Mets had their highest scoring total since they had 18 at Wrigley on Sept. 5, 2010. It was also the most runs the Cubs have allowed since that game.
Murphy hadn't homered since last July 16 but went deep in consecutive innings to notch his first career multihomer game. Davis' four RBIs matched his career high and Hairston had his second career grand slam.
"We haven't had a lot of days were we had multiple guys in the lineup come up big," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We kind of thought going into spring training we would have more of those. Hopefully it's something that continues."
One night after having a 15-game hitting streak snapped, Wright had a sacrifice fly, two-run double and two-run single for his ninth career game of five or more RBIs.
The onslaught made for an easy afternoon for Mets starter Jonathon Niese (6-3), who struck out six and held the Cubs to one run over seven innings. Niese improved to 4-0 with a 1.89 ERA in day games this season.
Chicago fell to 4-17 against left-handed starters this year.
"His cutter kind of dominated the game," Joe Mather said of Niese. "He was throwing it in on us righties and away from lefties, even tougher for lefties. I think his cutter was the dominant pitch."
The game was tied 1-all through three before New York got 15 runs in the middle innings.
Davis' RBI double and Murphy's two-run homer highlighted a three-run fourth. Davis capped the six-run fifth with a three-run homer, then Hairston's grand slam in the sixth gave New York another six-run inning.
Davis added an eighth-inning double as his last seven hits have gone for extra bases.
One night after stranding 12 runners in a 5-3 loss to Chicago, New York left just four runners on base despite getting 16 hits and drawing seven walks.
Rizzo again provided a bright spot for the Cubs, who own the worst record in baseball at 26-49. He hit a two-out double off of Niese in the third.
How he would perform against lefties is one of the biggest question marks for the 22-year-old.
Rizzo is 3 for 8 with two doubles and an RBI in his first two games with the Cubs.
NOTES: Collins gave OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis the day off Wednesday. The 24-year-old is in a 3-for-26 slide. ... Before the game, the Cubs designated RHP Randy Wells for assignment and recalled RHP Rafael Dolis from Triple-A Iowa. Wells has struggled with his control, walking 24 in 28 2-3 innings this season. ... The Cubs walked Niese twice and have issued eight free passes to pitchers this season, second-most in the majors to Atlanta's 10.