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Samardzija still winless, Cubs fall to Yankees

Published: Thursday, May 22, 2014 12:36 a.m. CDT
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(PAUL BEATY)
Chicago Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija delivers a pitch during the first inning of an interleague baseball game against the New York Yankees in Chicago, May 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

CHICAGO – Jeff Samardzija did all he could once again to drive a stake through that winless streak with yet another dominant start.

The streak's still going. And now it's at a not-so-sweet 16.

Brendan Ryan scored on Jose Veras' wild pitch before John Ryan Murphy capped a two-run 13th inning with an RBI single, and the New York Yankees beat the Cubs 4-2 Wednesday after Chicago wasted another big effort by Samardzija.

New York scored two in the ninth against Hector Rondon to wipe out a 2-0 deficit. Samardzija pitched four-hit ball over seven innings but remained winless in 16 starts.

"We're not wasting anything," Samardzija said. "With modern technology, every game pretty much gets seen and watched. I don't think it's any secret with what I'm doing. I can get better. I'm doing some things that are good. Let's keep building on that."

It's hard to imagine anyone pitching better than this — or anyone having luck like this.

Ryan started the winning rally with a leadoff single against Veras (0-1). Yangervis Solarte walked, and the runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt toward third by Preston Claiborne (2-0) in his first career plate appearance.

Ryan came home when Veras threw a pitch over Murphy's head, and Murphy drove in Solarte with a single to right to make it 4-2. The Yankees had runners on second and third with two out when Derek Jeter grounded out to end the rally.

Claiborne got the win, pitching 1 2-3 scoreless innings, and David Robertson worked the 13th for his ninth save in nine chances.

He gave up a one-out single to Welington Castillo but retired Nate Schierholtz on a fly and struck out John Baker to end the game after 4 hours, 39 minutes.

Samardzija's winless streak continued even though he lowered his major league-leading ERA from 1.62 to 1.46. If he's frustrated, if he feels like he's being wasted, he's not saying.

Even so, how much longer can he take this?

"I've got a lot left," Samardzija said. "I feel good. You take it with how it goes. It doesn't always go the right way."

Samardzija would have liked to stay in longer. But he insisted he was OK with manager Rick Renteria's decision to go to hand it over to the bullpen and expressed sympathy for Rondon, who came in for the final out in a win previous night.

"I understand how hard it is to do that — to go out every day, especially when you pitched the night before in a long game in bad weather, to come back in a day game," Samardzija said. "To come back in a day game the next day, it's tough to do."

It looked as if his streak was coming to an end after Brian Schlitter worked the eighth. The Cubs took a 2-0 lead into the ninth, but things quickly turned after Rondon came on to start the inning. A throwing error by second baseman Darwin Barney didn't help.

A leadoff single by Mark Teixeira, walk to Brian McCann and another single to Solarte loaded the bases with none out.

The Yankees tied it when Ichiro Suzuki sent a grounder to shortstop Starlin Castro, who flipped to Barney at second as the first run scored. The relay throw to first sailed wide, and that allowed Ryan, running for McCann, to come home.

The blown save was the first for Rondon in six chances. And for Samardzija, it was just the latest dose of bad luck. He's 0-4 in 10 starts this year and 0-6 in in 16 outings since he beat San Diego on Aug. 24.

Whitley was solid in his second start since being called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He gave up a run and six hits in 4 1-3 innings, and the retiring Jeter heard loud cheers when he batted, particulary his last few times up.

"Well I kept thinking it was going to be my last (plate appearance) too. It just kept going on and on," he said.

Notes: Yankees reliever Shawn Kelley had a setback in his recovery from a back injury. Manager Joe Girardi said the right-hander woke up feeling stiff Tuesday after playing catch at Yankee Stadium the previous day. The Yankees hoped to have him pitch Saturday in a rehab game, but that won't happen. Girardi said MRIs showed no disk problems. ... The Yankees will be staying in Chicago, with a four-game series against the White Sox starting on Thursday. ... Cubs RHP Jason Hammel expects to make his next start despite a deep bone bruise in his pitching hand. Hammel took a hard one-hopper to his hand while deflecting Brett Gardner's single to start Wednesday's game but pitched into the sixth to pick up the win. X-rays showed no structural damage. He is scheduled to start Sunday at San Diego.

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