CHICAGO (AP) – To Colorado Rockies starter Jon Garland, allowing runs in any capacity hurts. It doesn’t matter who does the damage.
In Wednesday night’s 6-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs, it was a two-run home run to opposing pitcher Jeff Samardzija that really hurt Garland.
“He’s a good athlete, he’s a good player,” Garland said of the former Notre Dame wide receiver. “Just a cutter out over the plate, first pitch, just trying to get it over for a strike. Maybe he’s looking off speed and got it.”
Garland got off to an inauspicious start when David DeJesus led off the first inning with a home run, snapping Garland’s streak of 18 1-3 scoreless innings against the Cubs. It was DeJesus’ second leadoff homer of the season and 14th of his career.
Things didn’t get any better in the second, when Samardzija’s blast put the Cubs up 3-1, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the night.
But it wasn’t the home run that seemed to really bother Garland. Rather, he appeared frustrated with being unable to go deeper in games.
“I don’t want to come out of these games, it’s not my choice,” Garland said. “I’d like to keep going and see if I can continue to give the team a chance. … It almost seems like I’m hurting the team more than I’m helping the team only going five.”
Garland (3-4) had his third consecutive five-inning, three-run, seven-hit outing, striking out four and walking one on the night.
Samardzija (2-5), one the other hand, was strong, allowing only two runs on five hits in eight innings, striking out seven and walking only two. Despite pitching well this season, it was Samardzija’s first win since opening day.
“He had good movement on his fastball, the ball just jumped out of his hand,” Rockies first baseman Todd Helton said. “That one split he threw me was really dirty, so he always had that. But he was working both sides of the plate, threw the ball well.”
Samardzija gave up the lead in the second inning on Josh Rutledge’s RBI single. After a two-out double by Darwin Barney, Samardzija got the lead back on a two-run shot to left to make it 3-1. It was Samardzija’s first home run of the season and second of his career.
Yorvit Torrealba grounded into a double play to end the second inning, the first in a string of 10 consecutive batters Samardzija retired. He bounced back from his worst outing of the season. He allowed season-high eight hits and seven runs – five earned – in five innings of a 7-3 loss at Washington.
“Call me crazy, but I thought I did some good things in Washington,” Samardzija said. “I thought I got back on track with my fastball. I just didn’t pitch in enough against Washington, but overall when I looked back at the film I was happy with the way I threw. The outcome wasn’t what you wanted, but I knew I just had to carry that into tonight.”
The Cubs gave Samardzija some breathing room when they padded their lead in the seventh. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo hit back-to-back RBI singles. Castro’s hit came on a hit-and-run and Rizzo hit a hard grounder between Helton’s legs at first. Castro came around to score on Alfonso Soriano’s fielder’s choice to make it 6-2.
In the ninth inning, Cubs closer Kevin Gregg gave up a two-out RBI single to Rutledge in a non-save situation. It was the first run he allowed in 11 appearances. He finished the game by getting Wilin Rosario to fly out to center with runners on first and third.
The Rockies finished their road trip at 2-4 and have not won back to back games since a season-high eight-game winning streak April 12-20.
“We got put together some consistent performances,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “But overall, we’ve played fairly well on the road.”
NOTES: Samardzija’s other home run came on Sept. 23, 2009, at Milwaukee. … RHP Jhoulys Chacin is Colorado’s scheduled starter against San Francisco on Thursday. He is on a three-game losing streak against the Giants. … Rizzo has not struck out in his past 32 plate appearances, dating to May 7 against the Cardinals.
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