CHICAGO (AP) — With the Cubs 14 ½ games out of first place, they were looking for a positive sign from starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija.
Carlos Gomez broke a scoreless tie in the ninth with an RBI single and Jeff Bianchi added a two-run double to lift the Milwaukee Brewers over the Chicago Cubs 5-0 on Monday night.
Despite the loss, it was an encouraging outing by Samardzija.
After struggling in July with a 1-2 record and a 6.85 ERA, Samardzija was sharp in the no-decision. He threw seven shutout innings of three-hit ball, struck out seven and walked only two batters.
"I was pretty happy with how everything went," Samardzija said. "I kept the walks down. The leadoff hitter I got out (six of seven innings). Pretty efficient out there."
The Brewers got one runner as far as third base, but Samardzija struck out Jean Segura to end a second-and-third threat in the sixth. Earlier in the inning, Samardzija knocked down Norichika Aoki's comebacker with his bare hand to retire him at first. After being checked out by a team trainer he was able to continue.
Samardzija did not give up his first hit until Caleb Gindl singled with two outs in the fifth, but he quickly got out of the inning by striking out Juan Francisco looking.
"He was pretty much completely dominating the whole game," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
The only downside to Samardzija's performance was that he threw 109 pitches.
"Obviously he got the pitch count up through seven innings," Sveum said. "But he did his job. Obviously you can't do any better than that."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was also impressed with Samardzija.
"When he is on, he's really good," Roenicke said.
Samardzija's effort marked the third consecutive game that a Cubs starting pitcher had not allowed a run in seven innings of work. The last time they did that was back in August 1971.
"It's a good thing we've got going with the rotation," Samardzija said. "I like where I'm at right now to tell you the truth."
When asked about his future with the Cubs regarding trade deadline rumors, Samardzija was emphatic.