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Cubs 6, Royals 4

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- In his bid to secure a spot in the starting rotation, Jeff Samardzija turned in a terrific performance in Wednesday's 6-4 win over the Kansas City Royals.

THE GOOD: Samardzija was dominant in three scoreless innings of work, striking out three. He made good hitters like Billy Butler and Alcides Escobar look bad on swinging strikeouts. Samardzija may be ahead of every starting candidate in camp, other than Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster. The Cubs continue to run the bases well, converting 4 of 5 stolen base attempts. They also worked the counts the way the coaching staff has instructed. The Cubs have 55 hits in four games.

THE BAD: Starlin Castro made a throwing error that Carlos Pena last season may have turned into a putout. The Cubs led the league in errors in 2011 and their defense may be suspect again in 2012.

OUTSIDE THE BOX: GM Jed Hoyer and asst Gm Randy Bush getting words of encouragement from other teams scouts watching Samardzjia dominate the Royals.

UP NEXT: Chris Volstad makes his Cactus League debut against Seattle and veteran Kevin Millwood. Kerry Wood will pitch for the first time this spring out of the pen.