Cubs blow another Samardzija win, fall to Marlins 6-5
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Sports Reporter June 17, 2014 9:34PM
Updated: June 17, 2014 10:28PM
MIAMI – If Jeff Samardzija didn’t already feel sure about rejecting the Cubs’ latest effort to entice him to sign an extension, he got one more reason Tuesday night to believe in greener pastures, if not paydays, elsewhere.
For the fourth time this season, one the top-performing starting pitchers in the majors left a game with the lead only to see his bullpen blow it.
This time it was Brian Schlitter giving up a three-run homer to Garrett Jones in the seventh inning, erasing a one-run lead and sending the Miami Marlins to an eventual 6-5 victory over the Cubs at Marlins Park.
Samardzija, who also has been the starter for five of the nine games in which the Cubs have been shut out, remains the only pitcher in baseball with only two victories despite a sub-3.00 ERA (2.78).
Samardzija didn’t have his best start by far on Tuesday. But with scouts from at least four teams with him in their trade sights watching him pitch, he survived seven hits – all singles – along with three walks and two errors to nurse a 4-3 lead through the sixth.
One of the three runs he allowed was unearned because of a first-inning throwing error by shortstop Starlin Castro that allowed a run to score.
Junior Lake quickly gave the Cubs the lead after the rocky first inning, delivering a two-run homer. And the Cubs added another in the inning on a pair of singles and sacrifice by Samardzija for a 3-1 lead.
A two-out single by Rafael Furcal drove in runners from second and third to tie the game in the fourth.
But Luis Valbuena gave the Cubs the 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh on a one-out double that drove home Chris Coghlan from first after he’d singled as a pinch-hitter for Samardzija.
The homer off Schlitter snapped the bullpen’s 11 2/3-inning scoreless streak. The pen hadn’t allowed a run since Friday.
The Cubs made it a one-run game in the ninth on Ryan Sweeney’s leadoff double, a passed ball, and Justin Ruggiano’s sacrifice fly.