Good Cubs win today. They once again got solid starting pitching and a HR by Bryan LaHair, but this time they got some help as Ian Stewart had a HR and a nice defensive play that may have saved an extra run. Geovany Soto had two hits, a walk, and an RBI to contribute to the 3-1 win.
There's no doubt that it was Samardzija who was the star of the game. He threw 95-97 throughout the entire game, including 97 in his last inning and 96 on his last pitch. His command was back and although he may have hung a slider or two, he generally was putting the ball where he wanted it. The split-finger, in particular, was a major knockout pitch today. All in all, he pitched 7.2 innngs, gave up just 3 hits, two walks, and one run. He struck out 7. The performance moved him to 3-1 on the year with a 3.41 ERA. He has 1o walks and 32 strikeouts in 31 innings.
Bryan LaHair got the Cubs on the board with a HR into the RF seats and Stewart gave them the only other run they needed with a line drive HR into RF. Stewart had been hitting the ball well but without much luck, so it was nice to see him get rewarded this time around.
Geovany Soto also hit the ball well today. He had 4 good ABs with the only out resulting on a sharp grounder to 3B. He drove in an all-important insurance run in the 6th.
The game also featured good defense. We mentioned Stewart's nice play, which was on a barehand pickup and throw on a slow roller to 3B. It was especially important because Joey Votto than walked and Brandon Phillips had a single. As it is, the Reds scored a run, but the great play prevented perhaps another...maybe even a big inning.
Soriano also made a couple of nice plays in LF. Blake DeWitt and Starlin Castro turned in a spectacular double play in which DeWitt made a diving stop, but it may have been Castro's conversion that was even more impressive. The flip was low and he made a nice play to snare it and get the ball off submarine style to complete the double play.
Rafael Dolis came in and gave a glimpse of what makes people think he can one day be a closer. He threw 97 mph sinkers that were simply unhittable, then buckled Zack Cosart's knees with an 83 mph slider.
Then, of course, there was Marmol. He was around the strike zone enough to get the benefit of the doubt on a couple of calls. He struck out two, including Phillips to end the game.