Rapid Reaction: Cubs 4, Pirates 3

September, 8, 2012
9/08/12
9:05
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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PITTSBURGH -- The Chicago Cubs' 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates Saturday gave them back-to-back victories on the road for the first time since their last visit to Pittsburgh in late July.

How it happened: He started on a shaky note, but Jeff Samardzija regrouped and ended his season with a 120-pitch complete game. The Cubs will shut down the first-year starter as a precaution, but before they did he allowed three runs (two earned) in his first complete game and the first one by a Cubs starter all year. Samardzija gave up his two earned runs in the first inning. David DeJesus broke a tie in the eighth inning with a go-ahead RBI single.

What it means: The 9-13 record doesn’t look like much, but Samardzija ends the year with a solid 3.81 ERA. From the start of spring Samardzija was confident he would be a successful starter, saying that returning to the bullpen wasn’t an option. The new front office and coaching staff hoped Samardzija could transition into being a solid starter but his season exceeded everybody’s expectations.

Outside the box: It only figured that the first time Sveum tried the pitcher in the No. 8 spot of the lineup, Samardzija came to the plate all four times with a runner in scoring position. He made three outs and laid down a sacrifice bunt. In Tony Campana's first two at-bats of the game in the No. 9 hole, he had two base hits leading off an inning.

Off beat: For the second time in three nights both benches were warned during a Cubs game. It happened Thursday at Washington when Lendy Castillo nearly hit Bryce Harper. Saturday, home-plate umpire Scott Barry pointed at both benches after Pirates starter James McDonald hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch. In the first inning, Samardzija had plunked Andrew McCutchen.

Up next: The Cubs will send left-hander Chris Rusin (0-2, 9.00 ERA) to the mound Sunday at Pittsburgh in the finale of the three-game series. The Pirates will counter with left-hander Jeff Locke (0-1, 4.82) in the 12:35 p.m. CST start from PNC Park.

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
.292 14 65 58
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
WJ. Arrieta 10
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167