Cubs' win streak comes to crashing halt

June, 2, 2013
6/02/13
1:44
AM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs' bullpen failed to get the job done as the team's season-high five-game winning streak came to an end after Saturday's 12-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija was removed from the game with one out in the seventh inning, clinging to a 3-1 lead. Samardzija had walked two batters before departing. Setup man James Russell walked Martin Prado before surrendering a bases-clearing double to Jason Kubel.

Manager Dale Sveum watched most of the loss from the Cubs' video room after getting ejected in the second inning for arguing a close play at first base.

"Eight walks and three hits are not going to win too many games for you," Sveum said afterward. "We have been playing well and scratched out a few runs in the first inning to put us in position to win the game."

As Sveum alluded to, his team scored three runs in the first inning off Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy, who then preceded to retire 17 straight Cubs. Samardzija had pitch-count problems early but managed to get back on track, striking out 11 in 6 1/3 innings.

"I just had to stay in the zone and keep attacking," Samardzija said. "They are a fastball-hitting team and are really aggressive. I knew they were on it. I tried to concentrate on making better pitches. I got my slider going and got back into it."

Samardzija and Sveum both had to watch the bullpen give up two inherited runs and nine more from the seventh inning on.

"It basically came down to the walks," Sveum said. "They obviously had a couple of big hits to bust the game open. The walks were the difference."

Setup man Carlos Marmol walked three before giving up a grand slam to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth inning.

"He is a good hitter," Marmol said. "I left him a pitch right there [middle of the zone] and he took advantage of it."

Despite getting a no-decision, Samardzija recorded his fourth consecutive quality start. His outing included tying a career high by striking out six consecutive batters between the second and fourth innings. Samardzija now leads the National league with 91 strikeouts.

"He had a lot of movement on his fastball," Sveum said. "His splitter was pretty devastating. Jeff had great stuff again tonight."

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.98 104 108
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rizzo .281
HRA. Rizzo 23
RBIA. Rizzo 53
RA. Rizzo 65
OPSA. Rizzo .907
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOJ. Hammel 104