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Samardzija comes up big in a big spot

Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija

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Updated: July 20, 2013 6:58AM



ST. LOUIS — They may not have a playoff series in their immediate future, but the Cubs seem to have a Game 1 starter.

Doing his the-bigger-the-game-the-better-he-gets thing again, Jeff Samardzija manhandled the top-producing lineup in the National League when the emotionally fried Cubs needed it most Tuesday night.

“We’re the Chicago Cubs, so there’s always something going on, something being talked about,” said Samardzija after pitching into the ninth to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2. “If you can’t deal with that you better go play somewhere else.”

Carlos Marmol’s blown save in New York and Alfonso Soriano’s angry response, followed by the manager and general manager discussing Dale Sveum’s job status on Monday were just the latest Cubbie conversations making the local talk-show circuit.

“With the last game in New York and then [Monday],” Samardzija said, “the situation I’m in, I wanted to come out and do a job for this team and get us back on track.”

The “situation” is his status as the leader of the rotation, the guy the front office would like to get signed to the next multiyear deal it hands out.

“This is our rivalry, obviously. Every big game, he seems to pitch really well,” Sveum said. “He was as good as he’s been all year, against the best offense in baseball.”

In his first start at Busch Stadium in 14 months, Samardzija added to his big-game reputation by getting within two outs of his second complete game in five starts, this one coming 22 days after his two-hit shutout of the White Sox.

Those are two of his five best starts since joining the rotation full time last season. The others were his first start last year against Washington, his final, I’ll-show-you start of 2012 against Pittsburgh when he was shut down against his wishes, and his Opening Day start against Pittsburgh this year.

He improved to 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA in four starts against the Cardinals in that span.

Draft signings

The Cubs on Tuesday announced the signings of eight of their top 30 draft picks, including second-rounder Rob Zastryzny, a left-hander out of Missouri.

That makes at least nine draftees signed, including fourth-rounder Tyler Skulina, a right-hander from Kent State whose signing a source confirmed Monday.

The signing of top pick Kris Bryant is expected to go down to the July 12 signing deadline but club officials don’t anticipate any problems.

Notes

Sveum said that catcher/infielder Steve Clevenger, who’s back from a ribcage injury and hitting well at Class AAA Iowa, is a “viable option” for the bench when the club drops the extra pitcher it’s carrying sometime in the next few days.

◆ Highly ranked outfield prospect Jorge Soler was placed on the seven-day DL at advanced-A Daytona for a shin injury.

◆ Top prospect Javy Baez, the power-hitting shortstop at advanced-A Daytona, was named Florida State League player of the week for the second time.



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