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Jeff Samardzija earns first win of season

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Updated: May 26, 2014 11:37PM



SAN FRANCISCO — It took two months and a trip of thousands of miles for Jeff Samardzija to get his first beer shower from teammates since he was a rookie, when the Cubs clinched the National League Central in 2008.

It probably will take about the same for him to get his next one.

Until then, he’ll savor the stench of beer-matted hair and his long-elusive first victory of the season, even if the 8-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday might amount to little more than a parting gift from teammates by the time he’s traded to a contender in July.

“This game tells you a lot about yourself, man,” said Samardzija, who was the first pitcher in major-league history to remain winless 10 starts into a season despite an ERA of 1.50 or better. “You’ve just got to keep doing your work and go start to start, and every start’s a new start and a new day. Guys played amazingly for me today. I know they’ve been wanting it as much as I did.”

Samardzija (1-4, 1.68 ERA) entered the game with the best ERA in the majors and finished the day second to Adam Wainwright (1.67), the Cardinals’ ace Samardzija might join in Minnesota for the All-Star Game about the time trade talks involving him are reaching a fevered pace.

Contending teams already showing interest include the Braves, Blue Jays and Yankees. The Mariners have had internal discussions about what it might take to get him if the team stays close enough to the playoff hunt in the next month.

Samardzija knows where he stands in the Cubs’ trade plans, even alluding last week to other teams being aware of how well he’s been pitching, despite the lack of wins. Maybe that’s part of what’s kept him calm during the historic wins drought, which included three blown saves and three starts in which the Cubs were shut out.

“It’s been very impressive,” said Nate Schierholtz, who hit his first homer of the season and scored twice as the Cubs gave Samardzija his most run support this season. “Not once has he been negative about the run support or not having a win.”

“I usually get mad at other things than the results of certain things,” Samardzija said. “If you start letting that stuff get to you, then it’s probably going to snowball on you. I always want to just keep my composure.

“You learn a lot about yourself in this game, and when you come out of it and do things like this, you feel a lot better about how you handled it throughout the season so far.”

“It’s been awhile, right?” he said of the win. “I’d rather just drink the beer than pour it on me, but whatever.”

NOTES: Top prospect Javy Baez was named the Pacific Coast League player of the week Monday, then went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.

He’s 19-for-45 (.422) during the streak with 12 extra-base hits, 14 RBI and a 1.314 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. Until this run, he was 15-for-106 (.141) with five extra-base hits.

◆ The Cubs activated outfielder Justin Ruggiano after a month on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

Outfielder Ryan Kalish was ­optioned to Class AAA Iowa.

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

Twitter: @GDubCub



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