The Chicago Cubs got a taste of their new No. 3 starter on Sunday as Jeff Samardzija nearly tossed his first complete game en route to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals. It's the first win of the season for the Cubs, and it signals a bit of a coming out party for Samardzija as a starting pitcher.
A reliever with the Cubs last season, Samardzija came into spring training talking about making the rotation and impressed throughout camp. Named the team's No. 3 starter before the season, he came through big-time in his first start for the Cubs since Sept. 26, 2010.
Over 8.2 innings of work on Sunday, Samardzija gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out eight and walking zero. The lack of free passes is especially impressive for a pitcher that walked 13 percent of the batters he faced last season.
The Cubs actually led 4-1 going into the ninth inning, but Samardzija allowed a home run to Washington's Adam LaRoche after a throwing error by shortstop Starlin Castro. The Cubs pulled Samardzija in favor of closer Carlos Marmol to finish things off, and Marmol got Xavier Nady to pop up after walking Jayson Werth.
Bryan LaHair had a pair of doubles to lead the Chicago offense, plus Castro had two singles and two stolen bases on the day. Alfonso Soriano went 1-for-2 with a single, 2 RBI and a walk in a solid effort.
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