MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Jeff Samardzija pitched two shutout innings before an overflow crowd in the Chicago Cubs' opener at their new stadium, a 5-2 loss to an Arizona Diamondbacks split-squad on Thursday.
The crowd of 14,486 at the new stadium at Riverview Park set a Cactus League record.
Samardzija, the Cubs' No. 1 starter last season, allowed a walk and a single to start the game, but then got Paul Goldschmidt to fly out. He then struck out Aaron Hill and Eric Chavez to end the first inning.
The right-hander said the Diamondbacks "really make your work. ... They don't get themselves out. They have an excellent lineup. It was good to open up with them.
"To work out of that first-inning jam and get a double-play was just about everything I wanted to do," he added.
Samardzija allowed a single to Miguel Montero in the second inning.
Martin Prado had two singles and a run-scoring double off Cubs left-hander Wesley Wright in the fifth for Arizona. Eric Chavez followed Prado's double with a two-run homer.
"He's capable of winning the batting title," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said of Prado. "He really is."
Cubs reliever Jose Veras gave up two runs in the sixth.
HOME, SWEET HOME
The Cubs' opened their new stadium in grand fashion. A sellout, the game drew a Cactus League record of 14,486, including thousands either standing or lounging in the lawn beyond the outfield fence. The pregame celebration included fireworks and remarks by Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.
"It was exciting" Samardzija said. "I think this was the first time the Cubbies had fireworks, ever."
Diamondbacks pitcher Bronson Arroyo said: "It's always nice to pitch before a big crowd. I've been out in Goodyear (for Cincinnati) ... not a whole lot of crowds out there.
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