(Sports Network) - The Chicago Cubs went home-run happy against the Los
Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Tuesday night.
But if Jeff Samardzija can't correct the issues from his last start, it could
be the Angels teeing off on Wednesday night in the finale of a quick two-game
series at Wrigley Field.
The right-handed Samardzija, who faces the Angels for the first time, has
allowed four earned runs or more in three of his past six starts. He is still
a solid 5-8 with a 3.54 earned run average through 18 starts this season, but
is coming off a loss to Pittsburgh on Friday.
Samardzija was charged with five runs on nine hits and a season-high five
walks over six innings of the 6-2 setback.
"As a whole, my ball was up in the zone. I went back and watched the film ...
just everything was up in the zone," said Samardzija.
Though he did not allow a homer to the Pirates, a repeat of Tuesday's weather
conditions could lead to trouble if he can't get the ball down.
Chicago took advantage of a hot and windy day at Wrigley Field on Tuesday to
go deep five times in a 7-2 victory, the Cubs' fourth in a row.
Alfonso Soriano led the charge with a pair of solo homers and the 37-year-old
is hitting .400 over his past 11 games with eight homers and 17 RBI.
"To do what he's doing again, carrying a ballclub at a time when we really
needed it offensively with the way our guys have been pitching, is
tremendous," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Soriano's surge.
Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro also had solo shots, while Darwin Barney
connected on a big three-run blast.
That was more than enough offense for Travis Wood, who gave up just a two-run
homer to Albert Pujols over his 6 2/3 innings. It marked his 17th quality
start in 18 outings this season and he is the first Cubs pitcher to reach that
number before the All-Star break since Greg Maddux in 1988.
Angels starter Joe Blanton was tagged for six runs on eight hits and three
walks over five-plus frames to absorb the loss. He matched a career high by
yielding four homers.
"Not a good game for Joe," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his starter.
"He just didn't have enough good counts that he could have enough chances to
get guys. The home runs certainly factored in."
Pujols' two-run shot in the seventh accounted for all the offense for the
Angels, who had won their last seven road games and failed to move to within a
game of .500.
Los Angeles lost for only the third time in its past 13 games.
The Angels hope to rebound Wednesday behind C.J. Wilson, who had won four
straight starts prior to a 6-2 loss against the Boston Red Sox on Friday.
Wilson, though, pitched well and allowed three runs over 6 2/3 frames, but
only one of those was earned.
Wilson did yield 10 hits and walked two in his first setback since a loss at
Boston on June 8.
"C.J. had terrific stuff," Scioscia said of his starter. "Unfortunately we
didn't make plays in the field and didn't support him offensively."
The 32-year-old southpaw fell to 8-6 with a 3.49 ERA in 18 starts this season
and is 0-1 lifetime versus the Cubs with a 5.87 ERA in two meetings (1 start).
The Angels and Cubs split a two-game series in Anaheim from June 4-5 and
Chicago now leads the all-time series 5-4. L.A. is visiting Wrigley Field for
the first time since June of 2010.
The Sports Network