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Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija allows big lead to slip away

Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija

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The facts: 3:05 p.m., CSN, 720-AM.

The starters: Chris Rusin (2-3, 2.64 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (11-6, 3.07).

Updated: October 1, 2013 6:51AM

Jeff Samardzija was “stellar’’ for five innings Friday, cruising against the Philadelphia Phillies with a 5-0 lead before a sixth-inning meltdown.

But that big lead could have been bigger had the Cubs not wasted some other early scoring opportunities, manager Dale Sveum said.

“Obviously, twice in one week and to see this at home,’’ he said of blowing five-run leads. “We can’t get a big hit to seal the deal.’’

Samardzija, named National League player of the week Monday, had a one-hitter going until pinch hitter Kevin Frandsen started the sixth with a triple. Three more hits followed, including a triple by Chase Utley in a four-run inning.

Frandsen homered in the seventh to tie the score before a run in the ninth off Kevin Gregg (2-4) gave the Phillies a 6-5 victory.

“I felt good and had some quick early innings,’’ ­Samardzija said. “It just got away from me a little bit.’’

The Cubs left nine on base. In the fifth, Anthony Rizzo and Dioner Navarro singled, but Nate Schierholtz and Donnie Murphy were retired. Only Rizzo scored when Brian Bogusevic singled. Bogusevic was out trying to take second.

Evaluation time

Sveum is counting more on the return from the disabled list of Ryan Sweeney and Luis Valbuena in the next few days to help the team more than the minor-league call-ups coming after Sunday, when rosters expand.

“This [coming] month will be a lot of evaluation for what goes on with the lineup,’’ he said.

It also will be an evaluation time for pitcher Scott Baker, who is attempting to come back from Tommy John surgery. He will make another start next week for Class A Kane County, “then we’ll evaluate and see what we want to do with him the rest of the month,’’ Sveum said.

Minor-league All-Stars

The Cubs have five players from the Class AA Tennessee Smokies named to the Southern League end-of-season All-Star team. No other team had more than two players on the squad. They are second baseman Arismendy Alcantara, third baseman Christian Villanueva, shortstop Javier Baez, outfielder Matt Szczur and right-handed pitcher Kyle Hendricks.


Twitter: @toniginnetti

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