Samardzija makes strong final statement
Right-hander helps cause in quest to earn starting nod
MESA, Ariz. -- Bryan LaHair and Joe Mather each hit RBI singles to back Jeff Samardzija and lift the Cubs to a 2-0 victory Wednesday over the Indians.
Samardzija, making his last start before the Cubs staff meets to finalize the rotation, gave up three hits and walked one over six scoreless innings while striking out five. He was tested, as the Indians stacked their lineup with left-handed hitters, with the exception of Russ Canzler and Aaron Cunningham.
Samardzija, who has two hits in his young Major League career, also tripled to lead off the Chicago fifth, but was stranded.
Alfonso Soriano and Ian Stewart hit back-to-back singles in the sixth and, one out later, LaHair and Mather delivered consecutive RBI singles to take a 2-0 lead. LaHair is now 12-for-26 in his last seven games.
Josh Tomlin, battling for a spot in the Indians' rotation, was charged with both Chicago runs runs. He struck out six and gave up nine hits over 5 1/3 innings, his longest Cactus League outing.
"I felt good. I felt like I was commanding my pitches well," Tomlin said. "Overall, I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand good. I felt great the whole time, so I probably could say it was my best outing [of the spring]. The hits were a little high, but other than that, I felt pretty good."
Jason Kipnis had two hits for Cleveland.
Up next for Cubs: Chris Volstad will make his fourth Cactus League start on Thursday when the Cubs travel to Peoria to face the Padres at 3:05 p.m. CT. So far, Volstad has given up one run on seven hits over 10 innings and not walked a batter. He was stretched out in a Minor League outing five days ago, throwing 85 pitches. Kerry Wood is also scheduled to pitch in relief, which would be his first appearance since May 18.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.