5/27/2014 9:54 P.M. ET
Castillo impressed by Samardzija's latest start
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jeff Samardzija got his first win of the season on Monday, ending a 16-game winless streak, and what impressed Cubs catcher Welington Castillo was that the right-hander did not walk a batter over seven innings.
"He was able to throw all his pitches in any count," Castillo said Tuesday of Samardzija, who is second in the National League in ERA. "He just went out like his other starts. All of his pitches were working. He was throwing the ball really good, with a lot of good breaking balls, good fastballs on the hands. There were just a couple mistakes with [Pablo] Sandoval."
The Giants' slugger hit an RBI single in the first and a two-run homer in the fourth off Samardzija, but the Cubs won, 8-4. The eight runs were a surprise. The Cubs had scored eight in Samardzija's five previous starts combined.
Samardzija was the first pitcher to enter play on Memorial Day leading a league in ERA, but without a win since Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter did so in 1977.
A fielding error by Samardzija in the first led to the Giants' first run.
"If we make that play, he wouldn't have faced Sandoval that inning, and he would've led off the next inning," Castillo said. "With nobody on, no outs, [Samardzija] could have gone right at him. The thing is, when you have a hitter like that, you want to pitch carefully and that's when the mistakes come because you're trying to be too perfect. Hitters like [Sandoval] get you."
It was Samardzija's second start this season in which he did not walk a batter, and that's part of his effort to be more efficient and reduce his pitch count.
"It's like he said in Spring Training, he wants to stay out of high pitch counts, and go right at the hitters and let them put the ball in play," Castillo said of the right-hander. "He's been really good in that area."
Cubs recall Parker, place Wright on paternity leave
SAN FRANCISCO -- Cubs left-handed reliever Wesley Wright has been placed on paternity leave and the team recalled right-handed pitcher Blake Parker from Triple-A Iowa.
Wright, 29, was 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 18 relief appearances. He flew home late Monday to be with wife Sherell for the birth of their second child. Wright was expected to rejoin the Cubs on Friday in Milwaukee for the start of their series.
Parker, 28, has posted a 0.77 ERA at Iowa, giving up one earned run in 11 2/3 innings, and has eight saves. He has not walked a batter and struck out 15 in that stretch.
This is Parker's second stint with the Cubs. He was recalled April 13, and made two relief appearances, giving up three runs over 1 2/3 innings.
Grimm gaining confidence in the bullpen
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' Angel Pagan singled to lead off the eighth inning Monday against Jeff Samardzija, and Cubs manager Rick Renteria called on Justin Grimm to face the Nos. 2-4 hitters.
"I was honestly a little surprised yesterday when they called my name," Grimm said Tuesday. "They didn't have to say it twice."
On May 20, he was the pitcher Renteria wanted when the Yankees had runners at first and second and two outs in the sixth. Grimm got Alfonso Soriano to hit into a fielder's choice.
"I feel like after the circus I had in St. Louis, it was just a matter of gaining confidence in me again and seeing how I respond when I go out," said Grimm, who took the loss in an extra-inning game against the Cardinals May 13, losing on a walk-off hit by pitch. "That's my opinion. I'm still learning and just trying to be ready every day. You never know what's going to happen."
Like having to face the Giants' Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval, which he did on Monday.
"I try to take that out of it," Grimm said. "When you first come up, you see all these big names and you do tend to shy away sometimes. Basically, my mindset is to attack the zone and not break it down to, 'All right, I have to get this ball outside right here, I have to get this ball inside.' I want to attack the zone and quit trying to strike everybody out. Strikeouts happen. You can't make them happen, they just happen."
Grimm, who leads the Cubs with 24 relief appearances, struck out Pence and Sandoval, by the way.
Centennial Seats to honor Wrigley's history
SAN FRANCISCO -- Starting Friday, downtown Michigan Avenue will be lined with 50 custom-made pairs of ballpark seats, each depicting a special moment at Wrigley Field to help celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Cubs Charities partnered with 47 Chicago-based nonprofits, celebrities and artists to paint the Centennial Seats. There will be an online auction where participants can place bids to purchase them with all proceeds to be split between Cubs Charities and the respective partnering organization.
From actor Vince Vaughn and the Chicago Blackhawks to the National Museum of Mexican Art and South Chicago Art Center, each organization or person has painted a scene that pays tribute to a moment in Wrigley's history. Some of the memories include Ernie Banks' Major League debut, installation of the scoreboard, Babe Ruth's "called shot," and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
The Centennial Seats will be on display along Michigan Avenue throughout the summer. Participants can place bids from FridayAug. 10 at www.cubs.com/chairs.
To help raise awareness and promote the auction, Cubs Charities is calling for Chicagoans and Cubs fans alike to tweet, post and Instagram photos of themselves with the Centennial Seats. Use the hashtags #WrigleyField100 and #CentennialSeats, and you'll be able join the philanthropic effort and spread the word.
A map has been created that pinpoints where each seat is located.
Sponsored by Magellan Corporation, the Centennial Seats will be installed on Thursday.
Information about the seats and Wrigley's 100th birthday celebration will be available on Thursday at www.wrigleyfield100.com.
• Josh Vitters' injury problems continued Tuesday when Triple-A Iowa placed him on the disabled list, effective May 24, with a broken big toe on his left foot. He was injured when he fouled a ball off his toe during batting practice.
Vitters, who was limited to 28 games last season because of injuries, was batting .208 (30-for-144) with six home runs and 20 RBIs in 43 games at Iowa.
• Infielder Arismendy Alcantara, ranked No. 6 on MLB.com's list of top 20 Cubs prospects, was scheduled to make his first professional start in the outfield on Tuesday, but Iowa's game against Memphis was postponed because of rain. The Iowa team is short-handed as far as outfielders go with Vitters being injured. Ryan Kalish, optioned to Iowa on Monday, had yet to report to the Minor League team.
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.