Nationals keep Cubs, Jeff Samardzija skidding
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com May 10, 2013 11:46PM
CUBS at NATIONALS
The facts: 3:05 p.m., CSN, 720-AM.
The pitchers: Edwin Jackson (0-5, 6.39 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (1-4, 3.45).
Updated: June 13, 2013 7:19PM
WASHINGTON — Jeff Samardzija’s worst start of the season Friday at Nationals Park had nothing to do with any lingering effects from pitching with a cut on his finger two weeks ago in Cincinnati.
“It’s 100 percent,” said Samardzija, who still is looking for his first victory since Opening Day. “I felt great. That’s one of the frustrating things.”
The Nationals’ 7-3 victory marked their sixth in a row against the Cubs in Washington, dating to 2011. The Nats have scored an average of 9.3 runs in those games.
“Obviously, anytime you play these teams that are at the top of their division, you want to come out and play your best ball and measure up against them,” said Samardzija, who allowed five earned runs and two unearned runs as a result of his fielding error.
It was the eighth error by the Cubs’ pitching staff this season, by far the most of any staff in the majors. It was one more than the entire Arizona Diamondbacks roster entering play Friday.
Starlin Castro batted leadoff for the first time since Aug. 4, doubled twice, scored once and was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a single in the third inning. Manager Dale Sveum said he’ll be the regular leadoff man against lefty starters now that Dave Sappelt is at Class AAA Iowa.
◆ As expected, the Cubs activated Kyuji Fujikawa (elbow) from the disabled list. He pitched a scoreless seventh with a strikeout. Sveum said he plans to ease Fujikawa back into an eighth-inning role.
◆ After declining an outright assignment to the minors, reliever Kameron Loe was granted his release.