Cubs break out the bats against South Side rivals

Cubs break out the bats against South Side rivals
May 27, 2013, 8:30 pm
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Tony Andracki

When Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer met with the media pregame, much of the talk was on the team's ineffectiveness on offense.

Five hours later, that narrative went out the window. For at least one night, anyways.

On an unseasonably chilly evening at U.S. Cellular Field, the Cubs' bats were plenty warm enough in a 7-0 victory over the White Sox.

As Jeff Samardzija was maneuvering through a masterful complete game shutout on the mound, the Cubs brought a patient approach to the plate, working the count and driving the ball when they had the opportunity.

[RELATED: Ugly play haunts White Sox in loss to Cubs]

The Cubs plated a run in the first on Alfonso Soriano's long RBI single and then tacked on two more in the fifth with Julio Borbon's two-out homer.

"We got big hits," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Any time you start off the game with a lead -- Soriano's big hit in the first inning, Borbon's home run -- it's huge. That was probably the kicker to give us a three-run lead, so Samardzija didn't feel he had to nitpick.

"We got the keys. We got a guy over, we got him in. The situational hitting was there. Some nights, it's not there."

The Cubs came into Monday's game last in the entire MLB in walks, but drew three free passes against the White Sox and the first two guys to cross the plate -- Starlin Castro and Ryan Sweeney -- reached base via the walk.

"You've gotta get people on base any way you can," Sveum said. "But there's one stat that doesn't lie -- if you walk more than the other team, you win a lot of ballgames. That's just the way it is."

The middle of the order accounted for five of the seven RBI on the night. Anthony Rizzo doubled and tripled, driving in two and scoring a pair. Soriano had a trio of singles and drove in two runs while No. 5 hitter Scott Hairston added an RBI sacrifice fly.

Six of the Cubs' seven runs came with two outs.

"It was a good thing," Rizzo said. "To put runs on the board and keep adding on with two-out hits was nice for the entire team, our pitching staff, our coaches. It was a nice, easy win."

[MORE: Cubs' bullpen dealt another blow with Fujikawa injury]

The Cubs started the season with a completely different lineup against left-handed starters, but after more than six weeks of little success, it was time for a change. Lately, Borbon has replaced Dave Sappelt (who was sent down to Triple-A Iowa) atop the order against southpaws and responded with a big game Monday.

In addition to the two-run shot, Borbon also singled and scored in the seventh inning, rising to the occasion after looking lost at the plate his first two trips up (both strikeouts).

"Once you start getting a couple more at-bats, you start feeling more comfortable. I feel good against lefties, it's just a matter of going out there on a consistent basis," Borbon said.

Samardzija had been the victim of low run support this season (just 2.8 runs per start prior to Monday), but was spotted an early lead and never let up. He allowed only two hits and walked two batters while striking out eight batters.

[RELATED: Samardzija loves being in the middle of the Cubs-White Sox rivalry]

"We put up a quick three in the first few innings which allows me to take a step back, pound the zone and really not be too worried about the long ball or anything, just keep guys off the bases," Samardzija said.

"Then we tacked on a few more and that's pretty much how you write it up. Kudos to our offense there to allow me to relax and make some pitches. They were great at the plate today."