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Saturday’s results: G1 — Nationals 3, Cubs 0; G2 — Nationals 7, Cubs 2

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Updated: June 28, 2014 11:04PM



Jeff Samardzija wasn’t at his best before the fifth inning, but Saturday night’s 55-minute rain delay dulled any sharpness he might have had.

Samardzija struggled through five innings and the Cubs lost the second game of the doubleheader to the Nationals 7-2, enduring a sweep of the twin bill and settling for a split of the four-game series after winning the first two.

During his first four innings, Samardzija gave up a second-inning homer to Adam LaRoche and a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the third to Anthony Rendon. Luis Valbuena then tied the game in the fourth with a two-run home run off Blake Treinen, but two batters later the rain came, starting a 55-minute delay.

Samardzija had to wait over an hour between pitches, and it showed during Washington’s four-run fifth.

Wilson Ramos sent Samardzija’s first delivery after the delay into the left-center bleachers, giving Washington a 3-2 lead. Kevin Frandsen and Jayson Werth then added RBI singles before Anthony Rizzo missed LaRoche’s grounder, allowing Frandsen to score.

The fifth was Samardzija’s last inning and it was a forgettable night for the right-hander, who is expected to be traded by the July 31 deadline. In five innings, Samardzija allowed seven hits and six runs (five earned), and the two home runs.

Like the Cubs did with Dallas Beeler in the first game of the doubleheader, the Nationals were using a 26th man to start the second. Treinen, who hadn’t started a major league game since June 12 against San Francisco, went five innings and gave up the two runs on Valbuena’s homer while giving up four hits.

Treinen and the Washington bullpen combined to finish a rough day for the Cubs offense. After scoring 12 runs over the first two games of the series, the Cubs were held to two runs and nine hits in 18 innings Saturday.

The day started with Washington’s 3-0 win over the Cubs, when Gio Gonzalez pitched seven scoreless innings to beat Beeler in his first major league appearance.

Game 1: Nationals 3, Cubs 0

Dallas Beeler knew before his major-league debut Saturday he was only booked for a one-game stay with the Cubs.

It’s the future — perhaps as soon as August — that could hold more for the right-hander and the team.

The Cubs liked what they saw from Beeler, 25, in spring training and what he has done so far. And he only enhanced the positives with his six innings of work Saturday despite the team’s 3-0 loss to the Washington Nationals.

``He’s very reminiscent to me of Roy Holladay,’’ said catcher John Baker, who worked with Beeler in spring training before catching him Saturday. ``He doesn’t throw anything straight, and when you throw low, you have a chance to get ground balls.

``It’s how his ball moves [that impresses],’’ he said. ``They [Nationals hitters] were having trouble deciphering which one [cutter or sinker] was which.

``It’s a nice flash of what the future will be here,’’ he added.

At least that is the hope as the trade deadline approaches and the expected departures of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.

``He has multiple weapons and is particularly tough on righthanded hitters,’’ team president Theo Epstein said of Beeler, who gave up one unearned run on four hits through six innings. ``He started the year hurt, came back and he really has been able to repeat his delivery and keep the ball down in the strike zone.’’

As good as Beeler was, the team’s long term pitching picture isn’t clear.

Beeler isn’t even the best pitcher at Class AAA Iowa now. That would be Kyle Hendricks, who was the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year last season winning 13 games and leading the Southern League with a 1.85 ERA at Class AA Tennessee.

Hendricks, 24, who was acquired in the 2012 trade of Ryan Dempster to Texas, isn’t on the 40-man roster. The Cubs have no need to expose him yet, another reason why Beeler was brought up instead.

Most of the team’s better pitching prospects are at Class A Kane County now, while top pitching prospect C.J. Edwards has been on the disabled list at Class AA since April with shoulder inflammation.

For one day, though, the spotlight was on Beeler, who induced seven ground balls with a bread-and-butter sinker while striking out six.

``You’re always trying to make an impression,’’ said Beeler, who even singled in his first at bat. ``But when I got out there, I just tried to make my pitches.’’



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