MIAMI (AP) — Plagued this season by a lack of run support, hard-luck Chicago Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija was hurt by his bullpen on Tuesday night.
Samardzija was in line for a win in the seventh inning, but he was denied his third victory when the Cubs blew the lead and lost 6-5 to the Miami Marlins.
The Cubs are 4-11 when Samardzija starts, even though his ERA is 2.78.
“That’s the way it goes,” he said. “I go out and pitch and keep doing my job and making improvements. I battled, and I liked the way I finished. I made some good adjustments and finished strong.”
Samardzija gave up three runs, two earned, in six innings. He allowed only one baserunner in the final 2 1-3 innings and departed for a pinch hitter after throwing 110 pitches.
“Jeff battled his rear end off and had great stuff,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He was still hitting 96 mph at the end.”
Luis Valbuena’s RBI double in the seventh gave Chicago a 4-3 lead, but Miami rallied against Brian Schlitter (2-2), who gave up a three-run homer to Garrett Jones.
Renteria left the right-hander in the game to face the left-handed-hitting Jones, rather than going with left-hander Wesley Wright.
“I was 99 percent convinced Wright was coming in,” Jones said.
Renteria said he opted for Schlitter against Jones rather than bringing in Wright to face pinch-hitter Jeff Baker.
“It was pick my poison,” Renteria said. “Schlitt just left the pitch up. That’s obviously not what he wanted to do.”
The homer was the second allowed by Schlitter in 32 2-3 innings this year.
Jones had been 0 for 9 previously in the series against the Cubs, who deployed three infielders to the right of second base against him.
“The shift has taken away some hits,” Jones said. “It has frustrated me a little bit mentally, chasing some balls out of the strike zone trying to make something happen. That last at-bat, I just squared it up and wasn’t worried about the shift, and was able to get it out.”
Jones’ one-out drive hit the top of the wall and bounced into the bullpen for his ninth home run, but his first since May 23.
“I was getting up on my tiptoes, wishing it would go over, and it did,” he said.
Junior Lake hit his ninth homer, and third in five games against the Marlins this year, but the Cubs went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. The Marlins were 2 for 13.
Marlins rookie Anthony DeSclafani, recalled from the minors Monday, gave up four runs in 6 1-3 innings. Sam Dyson (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings for his first career win, and then was optioned after the game — as expected — to Triple-A New Orleans.
Steve Cishek gave up a run in the ninth on Justin Ruggiano’s sacrifice fly before striking out Anthony Rizzo with the bases empty to earn his 16th save in 17 chances.
Miami scored an unearned run in the first when the Cubs tried to turn a 3-6-1 double play, and shortstop Starlin Castro’s errant throw allowed Furcal to come home from third. Furcal returned last week after being sidelined since the end of the 2012 season because of injuries.
In the second inning, Lake hit a two-run homer to put the Cubs ahead. Darwin Barney and Eli Whiteside pulled off a double steal — the first stolen base for each — and Samardzija followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
NOTES: The ballpark’s retractable roof was closed when a thunderstorm with 50 mph winds passed by in the seventh inning. ... Valbuena is batting .419 over the past eight games. ... Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-2, 3.71 ERA), who was on paternity leave for the birth of his first child, faces Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta (2-1, 2.09 ERA) on Wednesday.