Samardzija gets bobblehead as Cubs win
The Associated Press May 29, 2012 11:24PM
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres Tuesday, May 29, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:58PM
CHICAGO — Jeff Samardzija had plenty of extra motivation on Tuesday. It was his own bobblehead day.
Alfonso Soriano homered, Samardzija struck out eight in seven innings and the Cubs beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 Tuesday.
Samardzija was relieved.
“You don’t want to pitch bad and go outside and see your bobblehead smashed all over the place,” he said. “I wanted to just keep the game close and hopefully people will go put them in their room instead of the trash.”
Samardzija departed after Will Venable’s RBI triple with no outs in the eighth. Shawn Camp kept the lead intact, getting a comebacker, a lineout and escaping the inning on Carlos Quentin’s fly to left.
“The fact of the matter is Camp’s been probably our MVP up to this point,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Soriano hit a solo homer to center field in the sixth. After going homerless in his first 30 games this season, Soriano has seven home runs in his last 13 games.
James Russell got the last two outs for his first career save, a nice feat but his father Jeff, a longtime closer in the majors, saved 186 games in his career.
Samardzija improved to 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA in five starts at Wrigley, and singled to score Darwin Barney with the go-ahead run in the fifth.
Samardzija worked around Stults’ leadoff double in the sixth, escaping when Soriano made a sliding grab in left to rob Chris Denorfia, then easily doubled Stults off second as he was already halfway between third base and home plate.
“I was a little surprised but he’s a pitcher,” Soriano said. “It’s not like he’s a position player. I’m happy we were able to make that play. That was a huge play in the game.”
Barney doubled into the left-field corner in fifth to score Reed Johnson, tying the game 1-all. Barney also doubled in the seventh. After being balked to third by Stults, he scored on John Baker’s passed ball.
NOTES: The Cubs activated C Steve Clevenger from the 15-day disabled list before the game, optioning C Blake Lalli to Triple-A Iowa to make room on the roster. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said that Clevenger, who has been out since April 28 with a right oblique strain, will see the majority of action behind the plate. Regular backstop Geovany Soto is on the DL with a torn meniscus in his left knee. . Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of the day the Cubs made scout Buck O’Neil the first black coach in big-league history.